Recent Wisconsin resident Logan Manhart supposedly needed to wait until his star Republican lawyer Sara Frankenstein got back from vacation to file any response with the court to the charge that his candidacy for District 1 House was fraudulent. Frankenstein had asked the court to extend her residentially confused client’s response deadline to from May 26 to June 16.
But Frankenstein and Manhart figured out the only viable course response sooner than that. Yesterday, the morning after the primary, Bath’s best Charlie Kirk clone announced that he is withdrawing from the District 1 House race:
Manhart’s statement warrants some line-by-line:
Recent speculation has circulated in the news regarding my past residency as well as residency requirements for the Legislature specifically.
The news isn’t speculation; it’s plain fact. Manhart voted in Wisconsin in April 2021. Voting in Wisconsin requires residency in Wisconsin. South Dakota Constitution Article 3 Section 3 requires that candidates for Legislature reside in South Dakota for two full years before the election. South Dakota nominating petitions include a declaration in which candidates swear under oath that they fulfill that South Dakota residency requirement and all other requirements to be eligible for the office they seek. Manhart signed such a declaration under oath. It is thus fact, not speculation, that Manhart lied and broke the law. The only speculation remaining is whether he broke the law by lying to South Dakota or to Wisconsin.
While I have remained publicly silent during this time as I explore every possible option and outcome, I have come to the decision that the people of District 1 and the residents of South Dakota are what truly matter in this election.
An individual accused of a crime does have the right to remain silent. Alas, throughout this statement, Manhart remains silent on which crime he committed: swearing a false oath and filing a fraudulent candidacy in South Dakota or voting fraudulently in Wisconsin. The residents of South Dakota truly matter, but not enough to Manhart to tell them the full truth.
I have realized that if i were to proceed with the race, it may put the voters of District 1 in a compromising position come November when they have an important choice to make.
Translation: I’d waste your vote, because I’m not eligible to run.
After consulting with my legal counsel as well as friends and family, I have made the decision that it’s in the best interest for all for me to withdraw from the race.
It is indeed in everyone’s best interest that Hitler Youth like Manhart not be on any ballot. Please stick with that principle.
During the past two weeks I have explored every legal and political option at my disposal…
Two weeks? I broke the news about Manhart’s illegitimate candidacy on May 5, almost five weeks ago. District 1 House candidate Steven McCleerey sued to boot Manhart’s candidacy on May 16, over three weeks ago. Was Manhart so busy reading incel testosterone supplements and expressing his loathing of towns bigger than Bath to notice that his candidacy faced a legal challenge?
…and at the end of the day…
Manhart issued this tweet at 10:12 a.m. Central. That’s the end of the day in Perth, Manila, and Shanghai.
…I must abide by all rules and laws that have been set forth for this position.
Even these truest words that Manhart speaks don’t directly address the issue. Manhart does not explicitly acknowledge that he maintained voting residency in Wisconsin through April 2021, then filed a false oath in South Dakota and conducted a fraudulent candidacy.
Recent allegations were made that I had not met the full two-year requirement of being a South Dakota resident, and despite being approved to run initially, I cannot proceed.
In more refusal to acknowledge his crime, Manhart relegates the facts about his fraud to the status of “allegations.” Manhart says he was “approved to run initially” to shift responsibility for his error to the Secretary of State for approving his candidacy, even though the Secretary’s initial approval of a petition is a ministerial declaration that all lines are filled and all signers are in the voter file, not a binding declaration that all information on a petition is true and impervious to legal challenge. “I cannot proceed” falls short of “I broke the law,” not to mention, “I’m sorry.”
While I take full responsibility for the ramifications of this decision…
Another dodge: Manhart’s not taking responsibility for breaking the law; Manhart’s saying he’ll take responsibility for what results from a decision he’s taking to stave off a bruising loss in court.
…I believe that each voter should be able to compare the candidates on their merit, free of the negativity and misinformation spread by others regarding my candidacy.
Manhart resorts here to the fundamental Trumpist dodge: portray plain facts and law as mere “negativity” and “misinformation.” He’s not taking responsibility for breaking the law, lying under oath, and waging a fraudulent candidacy; he’s claiming the whole residency challenge was a lie.
The last four sentences are all rah-rah fluff for Republicans to distract from his error and give him a chance to keep making the campaign speech that he can’t make for himself now on the 2022 District 1 House campaign trail.
The facts should have been as plain to Manhart and his lawyer Frankenstein as they were to everyone else. But Manhart chose to wait a month, until the morning after the primary, to withdraw. I speculate (yes, Logan, real speculation) he’s playing the legal game I laid out in a May 9 comment under my original post on Manhart’s illegal House bid.
With Manhart out, Republicans have only one candidate on the District 1 House ballot, incumbent Rep. Tamara St. John of Sisseton. That means at least one of the two Democratic candidates (McCleerey of Sisseton and incumbent Rep. Jennifer Healy Keintz of Eden) will win a House seat. SDCL 12-6-56 allows county party officials who live in the district to fill vacancies on the ballot, but only if those vacancies arise “after a primary election” because of “death or withdrawal.”
Had Manhart responded to the court challenge by the original May 26 deadline, if the challenge had proceeded, and if the court had ruled that Manhart was ineligible, the vacancy on the District 1 House ballot would not have arisen from death or withdrawal. The candidacy would have been invalid from the start, and local party officials only have a claim to filling a vacancy on the ballot if a valid candidate files, receives the nomination, and then creates a vacancy by choice or by death.
Manhart’s withdrawal the day after the primary moots the court challenge. It avoids a ruling that his candidacy was illegal. It leaves the door open for SDGOP chairman Dan Lederman to call a meeting of the Republican Party officials who live in District 1 to pick a replacement (like Joe Donnell, the guy Kristi Noem endorsed in the District 1 Senate primary but who got clobbered Tuesday by Senator Michael Rohl 71%–29%—yes! run that guy!).
Manhart’s withdrawal is a double-ruse. He’s tossing a word salad about responsibility and following the law while denying that he’s responsible for any lawbreaking. Just as importantly, he’s withdrawing to avoid a court ruling and preserve a spot on the ballot for some replacement Republican who has actually lived in South Dakota since November 2020. (Manhart does like replacement theory….)