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Manhart Ends Illegal Candidacy, Denies Crime as “Negativity and Misinformation”, Times Withdrawal to Allow GOP Replacement on Ballot

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:

Logan Manhart, withdrawal tweet, 2022.06.08.
Logan Manhart, withdrawal tweet, 2022.06.08.

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….)


  1. Nick Nemec 2022-06-09

    The Democratic Party should challenge any replacement the GOP attempts to appoint. Manhart and his lawyer slow walked the process intentionally for exactly this purpose, an illegal apointment after the primary, in the hopes everyone would look the other direction.

  2. larry kurtz 2022-06-09

    And with help coming from the national party the SDDP will have the resources to lawyer up.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2022-06-09

    ‘explore every possible option and outcome’
    How about the truth? Missed that one, Logan. Actually you should try the truth Logan, it is the one solution which works best with the majority of South Dakotans.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-06-09

    Gosh folks how can you pass on a name like Manhart. On eagles wings he flys. He knows all the latest memes, here’s a good one for him: ” If you can wait in line for hours for testing… can vote in person.” Now he can go home and take his bath.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-09

    Francis, yes. Truth does not appear to have been an option deeply explored and certainly not adopted by the Manhart disinformation campaign.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-09

    I agree, Nick. We need to watch the District 1 Republicans carefully. If they try to put up a replacement, we need to hammer on Manhart’s illegitimate candidacy. Parties can’t use illegal immigrants as placeholders. If they can’t put up a legal candidate by the filing deadline, they lose the ballot spot.

  7. Anne 2022-06-09

    If a suit for a writ of mandamus was filed, the absence of court action to apply the law is conspicuous. The resolution of this matter requires a definitive statement of finding of fact. Withdrawal as a candidate does not nullify a violation of law whether it was a deliberate act or a matter of legal slovenliness, as the courts put it. The judicial system appears politically compromised.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-09

    Anne, I would love to see the court render a final decision on this matter. I welcome more case law to clarify our voting residency statutes.

  9. Anne 2022-06-09

    The SOS has stated in regard to this case that the court has no jurisdiction over the matter. Their rejection of the lawsuit was based on an opinion of an SOS lawyer. I was witness to a law professor exploding about about the abject politicalization of South Dakota courts. The SOS is clearly and specifically charged with the duties of “attesting and authenticating all certificates, charters, and any and all other documents properly issued by the secretary…” That includes the sworn statements of candidacy.

    The Democratic Party has an opportunity to address the gross malfeasance of its single party government, but there doesn’t seem to be enough Democrats left in the state to get the job done.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-09

    As Anne suggests in her comment about abject politicization, the Secretary of State is incorrect. The South Dakota Constitution sets requirements for running for office. The Secretary of State does not check those requirements. Someone has to be able to enforce those requirements. Thus, the courts.

    Logan Manhart is a threat to election integrity. So is Secretary of State Steve Barnett.

  11. Donald Pay 2022-06-10

    Cory, I’d just say that Mr. Manhart didn’t do due diligence before he jumped into the race. His ambition and his desire to put his “leadership certificate” to use outran his understanding of the South Dakota Constitution. There’s really no excuse for him NOT to know the qualifications for the office he sought. That should have been the first thing he researched when it first popped into his mind that he might want to run for office.

    His false swearing is another matter. I suspect his excuse would be that he just didn’t know the qualifications for office, but that is really no excuse. It is understandable in someone whose ambition outruns his knowledge.

    Yeah, I don’t like Manhart’s fascist outlook on life and politics, either. If Manhart wants to follow Hitler and Trump into the dumpster of history, it shows his immaturity. Back in the day I had my few months of living in a Trotsky-ite bubble. With a little time, thought and education I figured out that was a dead end. Maybe Manhart will take the time he won’t be inflicting his fascism on your state to educate himself, and mature himslef out of his fascism.

    If he wants to lead, maybe he should research why the Constitutional provision that tripped up is candidacy was written, why it is now outdated, and how it should be changed. Then he wouldn’t have some “leadership certificate.” He would actually be a leader.

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