Iowa businessman and lobbyist Dan Lederman has had enough of chairing the South Dakota Republican Party. After six years of leading the SDGOP through total dominance over the South Dakota Democratic Party, Lederman announced yesterday he will not seek another term as party chair.
Lederman’s departure opens another door for Governor Kristi Noem to consolidate her power over her state party. She apparently is backing Senator John Wiik (R-4/Big Stone City), a loyal Trumpist excusifier whom she backed with cash in the Republican primary even though Wiik faced no opposition, Republican or Democratic. Lederman was certainly loyal to Noem, but with all the money he makes from rich Iowa Republican carbon dioxide pipeliners, bail bonds, Saudi Arabia, and someday soon pot, Lederman doesn’t depend on Noem and the South Dakota political machine for his credentials. Wiik is a former radio guy now managing car parts and towing wrecks in the northeastern hinterlands. He doesn’t have nearly the same wealth or alternative power base as Lederman and thus would be that much more beholden to multi-millionaire campaigner Noem.
Wiik may face a challenge from even more radically right-wing former legislator Taffy Howard from Rapid City. Howard ran an inconsequential primary campaign against Congressman Dusty Johnson last June after winning three terms in the State House in easy Republican District 33 in Rapid and the near Black Hills. Howard’s mugwump wing’s inability to win any House leadership positions would suggest Wiik is a shoe-in for party chair, but the radical right-wingers’ insurgency at last June’s party convention indicates the Republican Party activists voting for chair are a more volatile group than the evidently more easily cowed legislators. Noem’s assistance may thus prove vital in helping Wiik assume the party chair, and for such assistance Wiik will be ever grateful and servile.