- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

Capital Journal, Pierre, June 4, 2014

We trust you showed your primary colors

In a political town such as a state capital, it’s like Tuesday was a holiday.

In a political town and state capital dominated by one political party, it’s like that holiday was Christmas.

Tuesday’s primary election in South Dakota, complete with airplanes towing banners overhead and the usual campaign signs on all the major roads, was a reminder that the primary vote was the one that really counted for candidates in some of the major races in South Dakota.

Granted, there still will be contests in the November general election, and yes, there still could be some major surprises - some upsets, if Democratic challengers have their way. But by now the crowded primary field has dwindled in some busy contests; we all know who will represent South Dakota’s Republican Party in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat, for example.

By now we all know the margins, too, by which our candidates won or lost in some hotly contested races, such as the District 24 state races that showcase the division in the state’s Republican Party. As some in District 24 were reminding us Tuesday, every vote counts. We all know it. We can only kick ourselves now if we didn’t get down to the polls and convince our neighbors to go, too. America’s a great country, but how well it works depends on this little matter of elections.

We trust you let your primary colors show on Tuesday, when it counted.


Aberdeen American News, Aberdeen, June 5, 2014

Wismer win makes for good race

Primary election night Tuesday went about how most observers expected.

Former Gov. Mike Rounds was successful in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard easily won his party’s nomination for the chance at a second term.

Rep. Susan Wismer, D-Britton, might have been a surprise Tuesday night, but it’s a welcomed one.

Wismer handily beat Democratic opponent Joe Lowe for her party’s nomination to face Daugaard in November. Wismer finished the night with 55 percent of the votes to Lowe’s 45 percent.

Many thought former state wildland fire division director Lowe would have strong support with his solid background. He also was elected as mayor in Mission Viejo, California. He was expected to do very well West River.

In fact, Lowe won in Pennington, home of Rapid City, 54 percent to 46 percent.

However, in Minnehaha County - Sioux Falls - there was a dead heat, with Lowe beating Wismer by only 62 votes.

Will the 2014 gubernatorial race be decided by the biggest counties, or by counties that look more like Wismer’s Marshall County home?

There, she handily won 55 percent to 45 percent - 425 votes to 72.

By comparison, in Marshall County, Daugaard took 307 votes, while his Republican opponent, Lora Hubbel, scored 49.

Hughes County, Faulk, Grant, Hand, Roberts and Spink were all solidly in Wismer’s favor, among several others.

We are excited by Wismer’s victory, for a couple of reasons.

While she hasn’t been the flashiest candidate, she brings some substance to the table - and voters responded. Wismer’s interest in education and teacher pay is commendable.

Come November, with strong campaigning, South Dakotans could have a real choice for governor, rather than just an assumption.

That benefits everyone.

More close to home, we are happy to see northeast South Dakota represented on the state’s highest platform.

There has been talk in Pierre of this region’s diminishing political influence - we are several years removed now from the Daschles and Herseth Sandlins of the world.

Wismer’s nomination puts the spotlight on this corner of the world, and on a small town in Marshall County.

She has the chance to add to the legacy of Britton, if she were to win the governor’s race Nov. 4. Britton has had one governor already: Frank Farrar, who served from 1969 to 1971, still lives in Britton.

There is some other history-making, too: Wismer is the first woman nominated for governor from one of the two major political parties.

That’s one for the books.

We are looking forward to healthy debates and hearing plans to move South Dakota forward from two fine candidates, Daugaard and Wismer.


Daily Republic, Mitchell, June 4, 2014

Republicans in SD reject extremism

The tea party in particular and extremism in general were dealt what could prove to be fatal defeats Tuesday in South Dakota.

In both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primary elections, tea-party-supported candidates were trounced by candidates considered to be more moderate and mainstream.

And it happened in Republican primary elections, so the rebukes came from dedicated Republican voters, who were supposed to be vulnerable to tea party overtures.

In the Republican Senate primary, former Gov. Mike Rounds, who was described as not conservative enough by his tea-party-backed opponents, got 56 percent of the vote in a five-way race. That would be a nice victory in a two-way race. In a five-way race, it’s a landslide.

Among those thwarted by Rounds were tea party favorites Stace Nelson, who received 18 percent of the vote, and Annette Bosworth, who received 6 percent.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Gov. Dennis Daugaard cruised to an incredibly easy victory over the tea-party-favored Lora Hubbel. Daugaard received 81 percent of the votes, compared to Hubbel’s 19 percent.

Nelson, Bosworth and Hubbel were similar candidates. They all tried to stir up fear, intense dislike and sometimes even hatred of liberalism and claimed that the frontrunning Republicans were not conservative enough to lead an assault against the state’s and nation’s liberal scourge.

All three were extreme in their views and personal style, and voters clearly saw that.

That’s not to say the tea party is a bad institution. Some of the things tea partiers call for, like more honesty, openness and responsiveness from public officials, are things most people support.

But in South Dakota and in many other places, the tea party’s message too often veers into the scary fringes of political thought. Some of their hardline opinions, which they view as principled, are more like fundamentalist religious dogma than political philosophy. They deplore compromise and, when allowed to hold too much sway over government, have a terrible effect.

Remember the federal government shutdown last year? Tea partiers in the U.S. House largely caused it and took great pride in it. Meanwhile, people all over the country had their lives disrupted by shuttered government offices, and blizzard-stricken South Dakota ranchers waited for disaster aid as a distracted Congress accomplished nothing but infighting.

Tea partiers in other states have scored surprising victories in Republican primaries in recent years, but the movement has never gained significant influence in South Dakota.

Tuesday, traditional South Dakota Republicans sent a clear message that they’re not likely to hand over the reins of their party to extremists anytime soon, and we’re glad about that.

South Dakotans, by and large, are reasonable people who understand that extremism does not lead to good government. We hope the winning candidates heard that message Tuesday and are freed from feeling they have to cater to the fringe factions in their party.



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