Press "Enter" to skip to content

Randolph, Gosch, Pischke: Who Else May Face Schoenbeck’s Wrath over County Tax Vote?

While Senate boss Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) has his printer fired up, he might as well get his money’s worth out of attacking House Republicans who voted to create a new optional county tax. He’s sent postcards branding radical right-wing Representatives Tony Randolph (R-35/Rapid City), Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) and Tom Pischke (R-25/Dell Rapids) as “tax and spend politicians.” How many more of the 33 other House Republicans who voted for 2022 House Bill 1053 will Schoenbeck target?

  • David Anderson: escapes Schoenbeck’s wrath by not running.
  • Hugh Bartels: Schoenbeck’s District 5 neighbor has no primary, and Schoenbeck wouldn’t poop in his own yard.
  • Doug Barthel: not running.
  • Rocky Blare: Schoenbeck had fun in District 21 last cycle beating Lee Qualm, but Blare faces no primary  and no Democratic challenger. (Blare’s District 21 seatmate, Marty Overweg, voted against HB 1053.)
  • Kirk Chaffee: faces a three-way House primary against Senator Gary Cammack and Kathy Rice.
  • Sydney Davis: running unopposed to join Schoenbeck’s Senate.
  • Drew Dennert: not running.
  • Becky Drury: the only incumbent running in the newly mapped and Democratic-competitive District 32, Drury likely has to tack toward Schoenbeck’s mainstream agenda to keep her seat. She’s in a primary with Steve Duffy, husband of moderate Senator Helene Duhamel and cited positively by Schoenbeck as a Reagan Democrat. The other District 32 Republican primary contender is Jamie Giedd, who isn’t saying much yet about God, guns, rigged elections, or the other slogans of the radical right, but Giedd might be a little too interested in ballot measures for Schoenbeck’s taste. It seems Schoenbeck could leave this race alone and count on getting a couple of moderate House members.
  • Caleb Finck: The only District 19 House incumbent seeking to return to Pierre faces a five-way primary, but he’s a good party boy who does what leadership says, so he will avoid Schoenbeck’s wrath.
  • Mary Fitzgerald: Her District 31 seatmate Scott Odenbach voted against HB 1053. They are both running for reëlection and face only one primary challenger, Mistie Caldwell, who’s too busy promoting Spearfish tourism to fuss much about radical right-wing politics (or politics in general, it seems: I can’t find any campaign website or social media channel for her House campaign).
  • Tim Goodwin: running for Senate and is purportedly part of Schoenbeck’s plot to rule Pierre. He’s also running against even more radically right Republican Senate naysayer Julie Frye-Mueller, whom I suspect Schoenbeck would happily replace with Goodwin.
  • Charlie Hoffman: not running, and even if he were, nobody messes with Charlie.
  • Greg Jamison: the only incumbent in newly drawn District 12 in Sioux Falls, Jamison is a Schoenbeckian mainstreamer, not a bomb-thrower. He’s in a five-way primary that will pick two Republicans to face strong Democratic challengers Erin Royer and Kristin Hayward.
  • Kevin Jensen: This District 16 Republican was one of the loudest whiners about Schoenbeck’s redistricting map. He faces a three-way primary against Rep. Richard Vasgaard, who got mapped into Jensen’s district from District 17, and Karla J. Lems, who retweets enough garbage about Ron DeSantis, fake fears of election fraud, economy-destroying environmentalism, anti-vax truckers, Ron Johnson’s coronavirus lies, and conniving global elites that Schoenbeck would likely not find her an improvement over Jensen.
  • Trish Ladner: the only incumbent in a five-way primary in District 30.
  • Rhonda Milstead: not running.
  • Paul Miskimins: not running.
  • Will Mortenson: another GOP establishment player who will not be subjected to Schoenbeck’s purge. He and fellow District 24 House incumbent Mike Weisgram, who also voted for HB 1053, face two primary challengers.
  • Jess Olson: she and her fellow District 34 Rapid City incumbent Mike Derby, who voted against HB 1053, face one primary challenger, radical right-winger Jodie Frye. The winners face two Democratic challengers in the fall.
  • Carl Perry: The District 3 incumbent has a hard primary challenge from two Aberdonians at least as well connected to local money and power as the ubiquitous Perry. Plus, Perry has lost his cuter and better-known ticketmate, Drew Dennert, and has to run alongside the far less photogenic and elocutiogenic Kaleb Weis (see below). A little Schoenbeck money here—and a good chunk of that money comes from Aberdeen powerbrokers Jim Thares and Harvey Jewett—could easily knock off the incumbent Perry, if that’s what Schoenbeck wants.
  • Kent Peterson: not running, but his brother Drew is! If the apple falls close to the tree, Drew will be an establishment man just like House Majority Leader Kent, who is chairing Drew’s campaign. Drew’s and incumbent Caleb Finck’s primary challengers are right-wing radicals Roger Hofer and Michael Boyle, whom Schoenbeck would never help, and Jessica Bahmuller, who got beat by Marty Overweg in the 2020 District 19 Senate primary in a questionable recount.
  • Sue Peterson: primary against Tony Venhuizen, the insider’s insider who may not need Schoenbeck’s help; Richard Thomason, who voted against HB 1053; and newcomer Penny Baybridge. Schoenbeck could invest here to keep the young and pliable Thomason and complement him with Venhuizen.
  • Tim Reed: running for Senate, not a radical, a seemingly reliable replacement for the Brookings-moderate VJ Smith.
  • Rebecca Reimer: running unchallenged in single-seat District 26B.
  • Bethany Soye: faces a three-way primary in much-changed District 9 with challengers Jesse Fonkert and Kenneth Teunissen, followed by one Democratic challenger, Nick Winkler.
  • Tamara St. John: no primary challenger, and if Schoenbeck wanted to boot anyone in District 1, it would be St. John’s Charlie Kirkish ticketmate, Big Liar Logan Manhart.
  • Mike Stevens: no primary.
  • Richard Vasgaard: see notes on Vasgaard’s new District 16 ticketmate Kevin Jensen.
  • Kaleb Weis: one of the weakest incumbents in the primary, as Schoenbeck mapped him out of his old District 2 into the rest of Aberdeen in District 2, where Weis faces new voters who would scoff at his mumblings and easily choose the better connected big-business primary challengers for better representation.
  • Mike Weisgram: two primary challengers, but likely to ride with fellow District 24 incumbent Mortenson.
  • Marli Wiese: not running.
  • Dean Wink: running for Senate in a three-way primary against newcomers Beka Zerbst and John Carley.
  • Nancy York: Schoenbeck’s neighbor, and she’s not running.

So out of 36 Republicans who could be hammered for voting for the HB 1053 county gross receipts tax, there are only six, maybe seven more candidates beyond Randolph, Gosch, and Pischke whom Schoenbeck might sensibly challenge with his PAC money to seek a more mainstream Republican who would support his agenda.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.