Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie has helpfully posted the court documents in the court challenge to Manhart’s fraudulent candidacy. The affidavit backing the SDDP/Steven McCleerey complaint includes as Exhibit #1 Manhart’s nominating petition for District 1 House, 84 signatures (including one invalidated by the absence of the voter’s county) across eight sheets. The eighth petition sheet, as ordered in Exhibit #1, was circulated by Allan Novstrup of 1705 Northview Lane (Al’s winter address in Aberdeen).
Novstrup collected five signatures, two on Thursday, January 6, and three on Friday, January 7. The five signers wishing to nominate Manhart for District 1 House came from four Aberdeen addresses:
- 916 N Lincoln St
- 1017 11th Ave NE
- 1005 N Roosevelt
- 714 S Kline
All four addresses are in District 3. All five signatures that Novstrup collected came from his own constituents in District 3. None of the signers Novstrup solicited could validly sign Manhart’s petition.
Novstrup should know keenly the difference between a District 3 address—everything in Aberdeen city limits except a southwest chunk that Lee Schoenbeck gerrymandered to District 23—and a District 1 address—Bath, Groton, Warner, Frederick, and every other town in Brown County, plus Marshall County, Day County, and the Summit–Peever–Sisseton–Rosholt side of Roberts County. He’s running in District 3, so he should know immediately whether an address is one of his people. He voted for the Sparrow map that redrew the districts back in November and wrought major changes in Aberdeen’s Legislative landscape.
But Senator Novstrup apparently paid no attention to these basic political facts. He just bumbled through town, got five people sign for some kid without checking jurisdiction, and turned the sheet in, adding zero value to Manhart’s petition.
I cannot conclude that Manhart is just as dense as Novstrup in missing the obvious District 3 addresses on his District 1 petition. The five sheets Manhart circulated show he knew he needed signatures from outside of the Hub City. He collected lots of rural Aberdeen signatures, plus signatures from his home base of Bath, Groton, and other northeast tundra outposts. Manhart’s a lying menace to democracy, but he’s not stupid.
Manhart may not even have seen Novstrup’s shoddy work: the blank petition cover sheet that appears to have been submitted with the five sheets Manhart circulated are stamped Received and Filed by the Secretary of State January 10, 2022. An additional sheet circulated by District 3 Rep. Drew Dennert and another sheet circulated by District 3 Rep. Carl Perry—each with apparent District 1 addresses for all signers—are also marked Received by the Secretary of State January 10, 2022. Those seven sheets all have little circled counts of valid signatures in their front lower right corners. And the Secretary of State’s candidate website indicates Manhart’s petition was filed January 10, 2022.
Novstrup’s sheet is marked Received by the Secretary of State January 11. It has no mark in the front lower right showing a number of valid signatures, indicating either (1) that the Secretary of State recognized the same errors I did and found that Novstrup collected no valid signatures, or (2) that the Secretary didn’t even bother counting because it had already received, counted, and validated the seven sheets Manhart had submitted on January 10. Novstrup’s sheet may not have been part of Manhart’s January 10 submission; Novstrup may have just wandered in to the Secretary’s office the next day and submitted this sheet on his own, without coordinating with Manhart.
Whatever happened in the submission and validation process, Novstrup’s signature validity rate for the Manhart petition drive was 0%. To perform that badly at a simple political task, a Senator has to be pretty out of touch with the basic rules of petitioning and the redistricting map that he approved just a couple months before “helping” his District 1 neighbor.
Maybe that out-of-touchness is why Kristi Noem and more than a few Aberdeen Republicans are tired of Novstrup occupying their Senate seat.
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Related Ugly Republicans: Manhart collected what appear to be mostly valid District 1 signatures. They also include Manhart’s kind of dangerous Trumpy Republican.
One of Manhart’s first signers was Jessica Carroll, co-organizer of the Keep South Dakota Safe PAC that raised money to host ugly xenophobia rallies in Aberdeen in 2016 and co-organizer of a bus for racists to go to Pierre and cheer on Novstrup’s and Neal Tapio’s anti-immigrant legislation.
Possibly the last signature Manhart collected came from “SSGT A. M. Grant USMC of Groton. That would be Aaron Michael Grant, the radical right-winger who attacked election equipment at the Brown County Courthouse with a hammer marked “Truth” and “Justice”.
Jessica Carroll on top, Aaron Grant on the bottom, a bunch of Manhart Republicans in the middle, with a little Novstrup on the side—that’s a certain kind of sandwich that we can only hope District 1 won’t swallow.