Press "Enter" to skip to content

Schoenbeck’s List: Pro-Tem Funds 15 Candidates in Senate, 22 in House

Senate President Pro-Tem Lee Schoenbeck has given over $39,000*** to 37 Legislative candidates whom he hopes will help solidify his pragmatic-conservative control of South Dakota’s lawmaking process.

Candidate Chamber District Primary Schoenbeck cash Notes
Michael Rohl S 1 Y 1000* incumbent
Steve Kolbeck S 2 Y 500 former legislator
Rachel Dix for South Dakota S 3 Y 1000 challenging incumbent Novstrup
Tim Reed S 7 Y 2000*** switching from House
Mark Willadsen S 9 Y 1000 switching from House
Nancy Rasmussen S 16 Y 1000 challenging Bolin
Sydney Davis S 17 N 1000 switching from House
Bryan Breitling S 23 Y 5000 incumbent, against Speaker Gosch
Mary Duvall S 24 Y 1000 incumbent
Lisa Rave S 25 Y 500 wife of former legislator, challenging House switcher Pischke
David Jones for Senate S 27 N 500 running in Indian Country against Democratic incumbent Foster
Dean Wink S 29 Y 1000 switching from House
Timothy Goodwin S 30 Y 1000 switching from House
Randy Deibert S 31 Y 500 no pants, but not radical Ron Moeller!
David Johnson S 33 Y 1000 incumbent
Jake Schoenbeck H 2 Y 1113.13 Lee’s son
Richard Rylance H 3 Y 1000 challenging Perry, Weis
Stephanie Sauder H 4 Y 1000 challenging Deutsch
Val Rausch H 4 Y 1000 challenging Deutsch
Mellissa Heermann H 7 Y 500 not radical Doug Post!
Jesse Fonkert H 9 Y 1000 challenging Soye
Ken Tenuissen H 9 Y 1000 challenging Soye
Bethany Soye H 9 Y 500* incumbent
Brian Mulder H 11 Y 1000 4-way primary w Karr
Amber Arlint H 12 Y 500 5-way primary w Jamison
Richard Thomason H 13 Y 1000** 4-way primary with incumbent Peterson
Tyler Tordsen H 14 Y 500 3-way primary w Rehfeldt
Taylor Rehfeldt H 14 Y 1000 incumbent
Richard Vasgaard H 16 Y 500 incumbent, primary w Kevin Jensen
Drew Peterson H 19 Y 1000 brother of incumbent
Jeff Bathke H 20 Y 1000 3-way primary w Koth
Will Mortenson H 24 Y 1000 incumbent
Mike Weisgram for Legislature H 24 Y 1000 incumbent
Mistie Caldwell H 31 Y 3200 challenging Odenbach, Fitzgerald
Curt Massie H 33 Y 500 4-way primary w Phil Jensen
Larry Larson H 35 Y 1000 challenging Randolph, Mulally
Liz Regalado H 35 Y 1000 challenging Randolph, Mulally
Neal Pinnow H 28B Y 500 challenging former legislator Brunner
*Donation made in 2021.
**via South Dakota Strong PAC
*** Update 2022.05.26 11:03 CDT: Schoenbeck’s filing shows $1,000 to Tim Reed and $1,000 to “Reid for District 33” The latter was independent Nick Reid‘s campaign committee for his unsuccessful 2018 run for District 33 House. Reid terminated this committee in 2019. The Reid entry is likely an auto-prompt error. Tim Reed’s filing indicates he received two $1,000 contributions from Schoenbeck’s campaign committee

Among the 15 Senate candidates Schoenbeck is backing are two challengers running to unseat incumbent Republican Senators: newcomer Rachel Dix in District 3, currently represented by Aberdeen Senator Al Novstrup, and former four-term legislator Nancy Rasmussen in District 16, currently represented by Canton Senator Jim Bolin. Both of those incumbents are long-timers—Novstrup has served for 20 years, Bolin for 14—and both have been relatively pliable servants of the GOP leadership.

Schoenbeck is also backing District 30 Representative Tim Goodwin in his effort to unseat Senator Julie Frye-Mueller. In District 25, Schoenbeck is putting his money behind Lisa Rave, wife of former Republican legislator Tim Rave, in hopes of keeping radical right-winger and angry dad Rep. Tom Pischke from moving into the Senate.

Among Schoenbeck’s 22 cash-favored House candidates are several who need to push incumbent Representatives aside to make a House more submissive to the Senate’s will. In Aberdeen’s District 3, Schoenbeck is backing his pal Richard Rylance to knock off one of District 3’s incumbents, either newly redistricted Kaleb Weis or Carl Perry. Schoenbeck has not yet put money into hard Trumpist culture-warrior and fellow good Catholic District 3 House contender Brandi Schaefbauer.

In the northeastern District 4 that surrounds Schoenbeck’s Watertown District 5, Schoenbeck is funding former Speaker of the House Val Rausch and newcomer Stephanie Sauder over incumbent Representative Fred Deutsch. In District 9, Schoenbeck is backing two challengers, Jesse Fonkert and Ken Teunissen, over incumbent Representative Bethany Soye. Schoenbeck actually gave Soye $500 last year, but she must have done something to torque him off, as this year he has given $1,000 to each of her challengers.

In Rapid City’s District 35, Schoenbeck is backing two challengers, Larry Larson and Liz Regalado, against two incumbents, Reps. Tony Randolph and Tina Mulally. Up the road in Lawrence County, Schoenbeck is funding one challenger, nice mainstream Chamber-type Mistie Caldwell over more clearly right-wing incumbent Reps. Mary Fitzgerald and Scott Odenbach. And out in the northwestern hinterlands, Schoenbeck is backing Neal Pinnow in the contest for the single seat in District 28B over former legislator Tom Brunner, who fought Schoenbeck’s and Governor Dennis Daugaard’s 2016 effort to raise sales tax to raise teacher pay.

Schoenbeck does find some incumbents useful. Schoenbeck has so far given money to four Senate incumbents, four incumbent House members switching to Senate, and five House incumbents.

In Sioux Falls District 13, Schoenbeck sent Representative Richard Thomason $1,000 from Schoenbeck’s South Dakota Strong PAC. He sent no money to fellow mainstream Republican Tony Venhuizen, who’s raising more than enough money from the wealthy elites of Sioux Falls and the SDGOP to guarantee he gets one of the District 13 House seats. And Schoenbeck definitely didn’t send any money to right-wing District 13 incumbent Rep. Sue Peterson, whom Schoenbeck, half of his party, and most of my party would like to see Venhuizen replace.

According to the pre-primary report, Schoenbeck has spent $33,415.75 on his own campaign this year. Even that amount was likely overkill: his hapless primary opponent, Watertown city council member Colin Paulsen, has raised $6,600 and spent only $2,021.89. (Colin, you are running against Lee Schoenbeck. Why do you have any money just sitting around? Get it in gear and advertise!) Convention of States spent a few thousand on postcards against Schoenbeck, but even counting their out-of-state cash, Schoenbeck has so far outspent his opposition by more than four to one. Schoenbeck thus can afford to spend more helping other candidates join him in Pierre than he has to keep his own seat.


  1. DR 2022-05-25

    Did you see the fundraising a$$ kicking Dix gave Novstrup…and monies left between the two….

  2. O 2022-05-25

    As the SD GOP fights for its identity moving forward, I see this decision as far too important to be left to only Republicans. In a state where the primary is most often the election (direct or indirect) to office this decision of who leads SD ought to be made by ALL the people of SD. This blog is a perfect example of a section of concerned, bright SD citizens who sit our this process because of party affiliation.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-25

    DR, looks like I’d better move Dix and Novstrup to the top of my review of the 216+ candidate campaign finance filings!

  4. grudznick 2022-05-25

    Let us all hope that Santa Daddy Schoenbeck prevails over those insaner than most in of these contests between the legislatures. Mr. Pischke, in particular, brings zero value anywhere and is but a swarthy meat-eater looking for his next free lunch. They should sign up his ex-wife to do commercials on the radio for his opponents.

  5. Allen Jeris 2022-05-25

    Amazing how people slam Pischke for wanting better parenting laws. Call him a mad dad all you want, at least he didn’t assault school children like some….

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-05-25

    Oh, I’m sure Pischke will keep children from learning divisive facts Allen Jeris.

Comments are closed.