At a candidate forum on Saturday, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen/Sioux Falls) said that Republican primary voters should be careful that they choose a candidate who represents Republican values and implied that his opponent, Rachel Dix, is another of the independents and Democrats who register Republican just to win elections.
It’s funny that Senator Novstrup would complain about Republicans who have switched party affiliation. In October 20217, when conservative activists Citizens for Liberty named Novstrup as one of several Republican legislators who had switched parties, Novstrup played dumb and said switching parties is no big deal:
“I’m wondering if it’s accurate,” Novstrup said. “There’s a possibility I switched over if there was a primary that wanted to vote it [sic], but it would’ve only been for about a month. And so what?” [Dana Ferguson, “Conservative Group Aims to Out Ex-Democrats Among State GOP Lawmakers,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2017.10.09]
Governor Kristi Noem, who fostered connections with Democrats back when Clinton was President and Daschle was Senator, surely wants Republican voters to pick Republican candidates with Republican values, and according to a campaign postcard posted by the SDGOP spin blog, Noem thinks Dix is a better Republican than Novstrup. “Rachel’s drive & commitment highlight her proven leadership,” says Noem in the postcard, which shows Noem standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Dix. “She will be a team leader for your Aberdeen community.”
Novstrup has legislated Republicanly in Pierre since 2003. Yet Noem sees more leadership in a political newcomer under 30.
Dix’s postcard doesn’t mention “Republican” except on the two lines, front and back, reminding people of the “June 7 Republican primary”. The card doesn’t mention any specific policy issues or any of the typical red meat slogans—pro-life, Second Amendment, free enterprise, prosperity—that Novstrup cited in his RINO-rant Saturday. Dix just says Leadership, leader, leadership… and puts Governor Noem’s smiling face next to hers.
Why Noem would turn on a mostly loyal and untroublesome water-carrier like Novstrup is anyone’s guess. Maybe Noem and Aberdeen in general are just sick of a mealy-mouthed coaster who’s always been more focused on his bumper cars and personal profit than on serving the public. Or, more likely, maybe Noem’s endorsement of Dix is part of her coordinated attack with Senator Lee Schoenbeck to replace conservative cranks with malleable young newcomers who would maximize Schoenbeck and Noem’s control of the Legislature… because for these SDGOP elites, the most important Republican value isn’t leadership in others; it’s leadership of others, guaranteed by their total control over a caucus of their dependent beneficiaries.