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Bert Olson Declares Independent Candidacy for Congress, Needs 3,393 Signatures by April 26

With Democrats failing for the second election in a row to nominate someone to challenge Republican Dusty Johnson for the privilege of representing South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives, voters looking to replace Johnson with someone who will support infrastructure, intelligent energy policy, and affordable insulin must turn their hopes to some hardy independent who can collect 3,393 registered voters’ signatures and submit them to the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. Central on April 26. (That’s the sum of the 1,730 Dusty had to collect and the 1,615 a Democratic challenger would have had to collect, because the two parties that control these rules hate challenges from outsiders.)

Sawyer Van Horn, who campaigned for Democratic District 10 House candidate Michelle Hentschel in 2020, is still too young to run for Congress himself, but he tweeted yesterday that one Bert Olson is running for Dusty’s seat and wants help circulating petitions. Olson offers this campaign announcement:

Yeah, yeah, his campaign manager needs to make time for a second take (it’s not like the old days when you only had so much film—electrons are free!) so Bert can rattle all four points off without a hitch. Those four points are good—universal health care, preschool, paid family leave, and affordable college—and distinguish him from the incumbent, but petition circulators, signers, and bloggers will want to know more about Olson’s background, campaign experience, and strategy for beating the nicest guy in the ugly South Dakota Republican Party before shouting, “Bert! Bert! He’s our man!” Crank out those press releases, Bert!

Update 2022.04.03 16:52 CDT: Those press releases may also want to address whether this Bert Olson is the Bert K. Olson who, after less than four months as Deuel County State’s Attorney, was arrested in April 1993 for growing marijuana in his home. At the time, Olson apparently believed he could use the authority of his office to declare possessors of marijuana immune from standing law. Before the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1995, Olson responded to a question from the justices about whether he thought “all you have to do is uphold the constitution and the laws mean nothing,” Olson said, “No, Your Honor, but in the case of private use of marijuana I believe that the constitution protects that privacy; it’s just something that hasn’t been recognized by your honors yet.” The Court suspended Olson’s law license for three years and  required that he complete drug treatment, not touch controlled substances, go to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous three times a week, and not break any more laws before he could get his law license reinstated.

Of course, if this Bert is that Bert, he could at least mobilize the marijuana crowd who’s all irate about the Court’s overturning of Amendment A. Get the marijuana advocates who are currently circulating the initiative petition for pot legalization to also carry his nominating petition, and he could get on the ballot. Get everyone who plans to vote for that replacement initiative to also vote for Bert, and he could win a majority over Dusty! But Bert’s going to have to move fast to communicate with those petitioners, establish his credentials as a long-standing advocate for cannabis freedom, and get those petitions in their hands this week!


  1. jerry 2022-04-02 12:57

    Dirty Johnson has voted against veterans subjected to burn pits, diabetics to control the cost of insulin, and he supports Putin. How more Russian can he be? Dirty Johnson is one of the most disgusting in Washington. He embarrasses us all with his howdy doody schtick.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-02 17:36

    Yes, Dusty has been a disappointment. While trying to be all things to all South Dakotans, he has ended up doing nothing for anyone but the most priveledged, the most non typical of South Dakotans. It is time he sought employment with a Sioux Falls Trust Company or health care conglomerate where he will be appreciated. Give us a break.

  3. John 2022-04-02 18:49

    Yes, let’s learn about Mr. Olsen.
    Suggestion, Mr. Olsen, buy Auggie President Herseth Sandlin a couple cups of coffee. She’s a rock star who was victim of the 2010 red sweep.

  4. John 2022-04-02 18:55

    Sorry, Olson, according to the twitter link.
    I, and many South Dakotan’s, appreciate Olson’s “Zelenskyy war uniform”, though Olson should also consider a bit of playing the role of a serious candidate – while still being himself. Add to the above cup of coffee date, listen to Billie Sutton.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-02 20:32

    Yep, Mr. Olson appears to have plenty of tattered edges. He obviously hasn’t been to finishing school and I doubt if he plays golf.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-03 08:34

    John properly corrects my spelling. Darned Swedish hackers must have taken over. I have corrected references above to read “Olson.”

    That spelling helps my Googling, which turns us toward this 1995 South Dakota Supreme Court disciplinary hearing in which the court suspended former Deuel County State’s Attorney Bert Olson’s law license for three years after he, among other violations of the bar code of conduct, admitted smoking marijuana and spent a month in jail for possession of the demon weed. Wrote concurring Justice Konenkamp, “he can choose abstinence and treatment, which may lead to reinstatement, or he can continue his ruinous pursuit of marijuana, but not both.”

    Bob Newland, is Bert a friend of yours?

  7. jerry 2022-04-03 09:07

    Dirty Johnson is a typical republican obstructionist. Just like his tall brother Thune and his chubby brother Rounds, all for them and nothing for anyone else. This party is the party of NO. They could give a damn about South Dakota, all they care about is the fluff in their pocketbooks they get from their owners.

    So Mr. Olson got busted smoking some pot, that endears him even further in a state that supports pot in a large margin.

    BTW, Madison (girly name) Crawthon. states he witnessed cocaine use by several republican congressional members. I think Mr. Olson’s little smoke is much safer and saner than doing lines of cocaine in an orgy…. just sayin..

  8. Bob Newland 2022-04-03 10:03

    I’d say that Bert and I are acquaintances on friendly terms.

  9. All Mammal 2022-04-03 13:56

    10,000 Swedes running through the weeds could not get away from one Norwegian.

  10. mike from iowa 2022-04-03 15:55

    There was a1000 more dead on the shore, killed by same Norwegian, All Mammal.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-03 18:44

    Mr. Olson’s conviction and sentence to the slammer twenty five years ago is, if anything, a recommendation for our consideration as a Congressman.

  12. All Mammal 2022-04-04 10:44

    Mfi- and the dust from the weeds made snoose for the Swedes and they called it Copenhagen.
    I’m making it into a book for my nephew. I always thought I made it up myself as a kid. Such an old belief causes a new epiphany every time someone else says it too.

  13. ABC 2022-04-04 11:57

    Putin Johnson? Living Vladimir family values.

    At least we have good people on the Governor and Senator ticket to vote for.

    How many of you want the Democrats Independents and Libertarians as coalition partners to RULE South Dakota from 2023 to 2073? Yes this is a poll. Answer below. Once the DIL coalition is in place, Democrats Libertarians and center left Independents and Progressives can take a majority of the Statewide offices and then the Legislature and County Offices.

    I vote Yes.

  14. Former Dem Candidate 2022-05-25 19:25

    Democrats in this state can’t get out of their own g-d way. *smh*

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-26 05:57

    FDC, who got in whose way here? Olson declared his independent candidacy, then failed to collect the signatures necessary to qualify. Olson was in a good position to collect signatures, as he was working for the marijuana initiative and thus was already on the streets with clipboard and pen.

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