And in this corner, weighing in at $26,250, ready to water the Tree of Liberty with the blood of Lee Schoenbeck and other tyrants, the Queen City Quasher, the Lawrence County Litigator, Spearfisher Sco-o-o-o-ot O-o-o-denba-a-a-a-ach!
Another Class AA lawyer is spending a noteworthy sum on fellow Republican primary candidates to reshape the Legislature more to his liking. District 31 Representative Scott Odenbach of Spearfish formed the Liberty Tree PAC in March 2021. He raised over $30,000 for Liberty Tree PAC last year and over $36,000 this year to donate $26,250 so far this primary season to 11 Republican Senate candidates and 28 Republican House candidates, all of them engaged in primaries:
|Legislative Candidates Receiving Odenbach/Liberty Tree PAC Money||Chamber||District||Amount|
Odenbach’s PAC money appears to target districts where Watertown lawyer and District 5 Senator Lee Schoenbeck has dedicated even more money to candidates in his campaign to root out the Republican whack-a-doodles who dare resist his and Governor Kristi Noem’s agenda in Pierre.
Odenbach and Schoenbeck are backing challengers in each other’s back yards: Odenbach has given District 5 Senate candidate Colin Paulsen $1,000, and Schoenbeck has given District 31 House candidate Mistie Caldwell $3,200.
Odenbach’s donations target 12 Senate contests and 22 House contests. Eleven of the 12 districts where Odenbach has sent Liberty Tree money have a Senate candidate funded by Schoenbeck. In the exception, new Madison/Volga District 8, Odenbach has given a newcomer apparently unknown to SDGOP insider Pat Powers, Heather DeVries, $1,000 in an apparent attempt to oust her neighbor and incumbent GOP Senator Casey Crabtree. The mellow, mainstream District 8 incumbent has received no money from Schoenbeck and, given that Odenbach’s donation is 56% of DeVries’s total campaign income and that Crabtree has 75 times more cash on hand than DeVries, doesn’t need any.
Odenbach has sprinkled some Liberty Tree cash on 20 House districts with primaries. That cash is running into Schoenbeck money in 15 of those districts.
Schoenbeck has reported spending over $39,000 on his 37 candidates, so it figures that, in most district match-ups, Schoenbeck is outspending Odenbach. The Spearfish lawyer is outspending the Watertown lawyer in Senate District 8, Sioux Falls House District 13 (Odenbach has given his conservative colleague Rep. Sue Peterson $1,000 and newcomer Penny Baybridge $500, while Schoenbeck has given the more moderate incumbent Richard Thomason $1,000), and Belle Fourche/Lemmon single-seat House District 28B (Odenbach has given former right-wing legislator Tom Brunner $1,000, while Schoenbeck has given Neal Pinnow $500).
Three House candidates meet both Odenbach’s and Schoenbeck’s ideological test: Sioux Falls District 9 incumbent Bethany Soye, Brookings District 7 newcomer Mellissa Heermann, and Sioux Falls District 14 newcomer Tyler Tordsen. Schoenbeck sent Soye his $500 last year and his since sent $1,000 to each of her challengers.
Looking just at contributions, Odenbach has done pretty well deploy two-thirds as much on direct candidate contributions through his PAC as Schoenbeck has through his candidate committee. But that comparison doesn’t take into account the fact that Schoenbeck’s own PAC, South Dakota Strong, has spent another $138,000 on advertising, bombing Reps. Gosch, Pischke, and Randolph and other Odenbach favorites with “Drain the Swamp” postcards. Liberty Tree reports no such expenses for advertising; that $26K given directly to candidates is all Odenbach has mustered so far.
Odenbach himself has $19,775 left in Liberty Tree PAC, plus another $5,000 his friends Bart and Nicole Krautschun just gave him last Friday. Schoenbeck has a measly $2,510 left in SD Strong and $17,441.80 left in his candidate committee. So they each may have a few punches to throw in some of their favorite primary contests around the state. Let’s all watch closely on June 7 to see which lawyer from which “River”, West or East, can knock the most of his counter-ideologues out of the Legislature.