Like Billie Sutton in 2018, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith waited until the day before the South Dakota Democratic Party convention to announce his running mate. Unlike Sutton, Smith doesn’t have to work too hard to explain his choice. Sutton’s choice, Michelle Lavallee, was a first-time candidate who, until just before the convention, had been a lifelong registered Republican. While Lavallee complemented Sutton’s bipartisan image well, she darn near drew a floor challenge from Democratic delegates seeking a more proven Democrat for Sutton’s running mate.
Keintz should face no such challenge; the Democratic base knows her, as does Smith, who serves with her in the House. The Democrat from Eden has cast votes to stand against Republican stupidity in the House, like her vote to impeach killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and her vote against Rep. Phil Jensen’s Ignore the Doctors, Take Horse Worm Pills! bill. She scored high, along with Smith, on the cannabis business lobby’s 2022 scorecard for marijuana legislation, a signal to the leafy-green vote still chafing under the current Governor’s assault on their reefer rights that a vote for Smith is a vote to protect cannabis freedom.
Of keen importance in the Alito Court’s enraging dystopia, Keintz’s pro-choice voting record is as solid as Smith’s impressive pro-woman, pro-liberty record (Keintz and Smith traded absences on 2021 HB 1051 and 2022 HB 1208; Smith got to vote against 2022 HB 1326 in committee before Keintz got the chance to add her likely nay). Two weeks after South Dakota’s trigger law demoted women to second-class citizens, Smith’s choice of Keintz sends a clear signal to voters with maternal capacity and voters who support moms and potential moms: Jamie Smith and Jennifer Keintz will protect your rights; Kristi Noem and Larry Rhoden will take them away.
Noem’s Hillsdale spokesboy Ian Fury calls Keintz “Kamala” and says she’s “the most liberal legislator in South Dakota.” Noem’s friends at CPAC actually disagree with that assessment, rating Rep. Shawn Bordeaux with the lowest lifetime conservative rating of any current legislator. But if by “liberal” Ian means “the opposite of heartless Kristi Noem and brute Larry Rhoden,” Smith and Keintz could take that sobriquet and run with it.
So fire up, Democratic base! You’ve got two Democrats at the top of your ticket! Now find an Attorney General and a Secretary of State!