Not surprising is that Senator John Thune ginned up some drama to get a little more attention for his announcement of his reëlection campaign. Perhaps surprising is that another enemy of democracy, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thoms, appears to be stepping away from running to keep his job.
Sheriff Thoms, who served as one of Governor Kristi Noem’s lackeys in her lucky lawsuit to overturn marijuana-legalizing Amendment A, insists that when he thwarted the voter’s will, he was upholding the voters’ will:
“I have been criticized for trying to override the will of the voters, when the opposite is true,” Thom said at the time. “I am upholding the will of the voters. In 2018, the voters passed Amendment Z, that said we wanted a single topic per amendment, and the lower court and Supreme Court both affirmed that” [Austin Goss, “Sources: Sheriff Kevin Thom Will Not Run for Re-Election in 2022,” KOTA, 2022.01.09].
Horsehockey. There was no grassroots campaign for the unnecessary and infinitely malleable single-subject rule in 2018. Amendment Z was a plot by Republican legislators to sneak a nice-sounding technicality into the Constitution to give Republican lawyers another legal foothold for quashing citizen initiatives. Sheriff Thom participated in that quashing by supporting Noem’s lawsuit.
Far more South Dakotans have pounded far more pavement for far more years to fight for cannabis liberalization than have ever campaigned for the arcane single-subject rule. Amendment A was a far more genuine expression of deeply held popular will than Amendment Z.
But by thwarting that popular will, he was upholding popular will—wowzers! With Newspeak like that, don’t be surprised if Sheriff Thom’s announcement that he won’t seek reëlection as sheriff is quickly followed by an announcement that he is accepting a payoff nomination to serve in Noem’s Cabinet, where the ability to speak out of both sides of one’s mouth is a pre-requisite.