Monthly Archives: May 2010

Regarding Jason Kubel

Two home runs, a double and five runs batted in: Those were the important contributions of Jason Kubel in the Minnesota Twins’ 8-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday night. This was the second big game by Kubel in a Twins win over the Yankees this season. Kubel has become a bit of a darling among South Dakota fans because he was born in Belle Fourche in 1982. He played his high school ball, however, in Palmdale, California, a 100,000-plus city in Los Angeles County. He was drafted by the Twins in the twelfth round of the 2000 amateur draft. His reported salary for 2010 is $4.1 million. His patient prowess at the plate Thursday was a complement to the resurgent command of Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn. Keep an eye on these boys this summer. With a batting order that’s eight strong, this is a team we could be watching in the playoffs again this fall.

A sad day in newspapering

Dave Leone, the publisher of the Aberdeen American News, passed away today. He had been on medical leave since December. He was named publisher on July 17, 2007. He previously was publisher of the Imperial Valley Press in California since 2000. Among his prior postings were publisher of the Kewanee Star Courier in Illinois; circulation and operations director for the Billings Gazette in Montana; and controller and operations director for the Rapid City Journal. Cory Bollinger has been serving as interim publisher of the American News in Dave’s absence.

Dave Leone was a good guy. He cared about his family, his employees, his readers, his advertisers, his community, his friends and newspapering in general. None of us can ever know how much time we have. He made his time count.

SDEA backs its favorites in legislative primaries

The South Dakota Education Association’s political action committee, known as EPIC, has waded into some primary elections for Legislature. EPIC has provided donations to Rep. Marc Feinstein, D-Sioux Falls, $500; former Rep. Casey Murschel, R-Sioux Falls, $1,000; Jeff Winters, D-Sioux Falls, $500; Bruce Rampelberg, R-Rapid City, $500; Dan Dryden, R-Rapid City, $1,000; Tad Perry, R-Fort Pierre, $500; and Carl Rathbun, R-Fort Pierre, $500.

Healthcare PAC takes sides in legislative primaries

The South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations’ political action committee has weighed in early on some election contests for seats in the Legislature. The Healthcare PAC contributed a total of $4,500 to legislative candidates who have June 8 primary races, as well as $7,500 in early donations to legislative candidate who don’t have primaries. Recipients of PAC donations for primaries are Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown, $500; former Rep. Mark Willadsen, R-Sioux Falls, $250; former Rep. Casey Murschel, R-Sioux Falls, $250; Sen. Kathy Miles, D-Sioux Falls, $1,000; James Schaefer, R-Kennebec, $250; Rep. Kent Juhnke, R-Vivian, $250; Tad Perry, R-Fort Pierre, $500; Bruce Rampelberg, R-Rapid City, $500; former Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, R-Rapid City, $500; Dan Dryden, R-Rapid City, $250; and Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, $250.

Family Planning PAC supports two in primaries

Angie Buhl of Sioux Falls and Casey Murschel of Sioux received $1,000 apiece for their legislative primary campaigns from the South Dakota Family Planning political action committee.

Buhl is challenging Sen. Kathy Miles of Sioux Falls in a Democratic primary in District 15. There’s no Republican filed, so their contest could be winner takes all on June 8, unless an independent pops up.

Murschel, a former member of the House of Representatives, is one of three Republicans seeking their party’s two nominations in a House primary in Sioux Falls in District 12. The two other Republicans running are Rep. Manny Steele of Sioux alls and former legislator Hal Wick of Sioux Falls.

Miles, Steele and Wick have records of opposing legalized abortion and supporting limits on abortions, while Buhl and Murschel have favored protecting legalized abortion.

A Legislature without leaders…

…is like a morning without sunshine. Somebody has to organize the multiple factions within the 105. And seven of the 10 whose jobs have been to try to do that aren’t coming back for the 2011 session.

House Speaker Tim Rave, R-Baltic, is running for the state Senate. The other top two House Republicans, majority leader Bob Faehn of Watertown and assistant leader Kristi Noem of Castlewood, aren’t returning. Faehn is focusing on his radio business, while Noem is one of the three candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. House of Representatives.

In the Senate, the turnover is broader. Senate Republican leader Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls is running for governor, and assistant GOP leader Tom Dempster of Sioux Falls is retiring. Both are term-limited. Senate Democratic leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls is running for governor, and assistant Democratic leader Gary Hanson of Sisseton isn’t running again.

Sen. Bob Gray, R-Pierre, is seeking re-election. He’s the Senate president pro tem, the chamber’s top elected member. Over on the other side, House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton is making a return bid, as is assistant Democratic leader Paul Dennert of Columbia.

The Senate will be getting a new presiding officer, because Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, R-Garretson, is running for governor. In the House, Rep. Val Rausch is in line to become the next speaker. Rausch, R-Big Stone City, has been speaker pro tem the past two sessions, and under House tradition would ascend from the No. 2 to the No. 1 slot in 2011.

A U.S. Senate seat in North Dakota swings GOP

Republican Gov. John Hoeven looks increasingly like he’s heading from North Dakota to Washington, D.C. The latest Rasmussen polling shows Hoeven supported by 72 percent of likely voters surveyed by telephone, while Democratic state Sen. Tracy Potter was at 23 percent. They’re running to succeed Democratic U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, who declined to run again. At the time of Dorgan’s announcement last winter, a Rasmussen poll showed Hoeven with a 22-point lead over Dorgan. Another sign of a Republican tide is that Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy trails his Republican challenger, state Rep. Rick Berg. The latest Rasmussen poll found Berg with 52 percent to Pomeroy’s 43 percent. The poll was conducted May 18-19 of 500 likely voters, with a possible margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

New PACs form, just in time for primaries

State Sen. Tom Dempster, R-Sioux Falls, is term-limited and isn’t seeking election to another office this year. But he is staying involved in election-year politics. He recently filed the organization paperwork for a political action committee, called Strong Leadership for South Dakota. Dempster lists himself as chairman and treasurer. As to its purpose, the organization statement says, “Support candidates for state and local offices, supportive of candidates committed to growing South Dakota’s economy and improving the everyday life of our citizens.”

The newest PAC is Citizens for Liberty. Its chair is Barbara Lindberg of rural Rapid City, while its treasurer is Zach Lautenschlager of Rapid City. The expressed purpose of their PAC: “To support limited government.” Lautenschlager has been a registered lobbyist since 2003 for a group calling itself Gun Owners of South Dakota.

Another new PAC carries the name South Dakota Legislative District 30 Democrats. Its chair and treasurer are Kathleen Ann, who lists a rural Scenic street address and a Broomfield, Colorado, postal address on the organization filing. Its purpose is to elect Democrats.

It’s likely the Dempster and Lautenschlager PACs could play roles in financing candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor in the June 8 primary election. The deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, May 28, for filing pre-primary financial reports by PACs, state political party committees, gubernatorial candidates, legislative candidates, and county-office candidates in counties with populations larger than 5,000. The late penalty is $50 per day.

Daugaard trots out his own names

In a contest of which candidate has the bigger-name buddies, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard responded this afternoon to Senate Republican leader Dave Knudson’s endorsements from five former chiefs of staff and budget directors. Daugaard and Knudson are two of the five candidates for the Republican nomination for governor in the June 8 primary election. After Knudson’s morning news conference, Daugaard came back this afternoon with his own list of endorsements from Gov. Mike Rounds, former Gov. Walter Dale Miller, former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby, former Gov. Frank Farrar, former First Lady Linda Mickelson Graham, state Treasurer Vern Larson, former Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine, former Secretary of State Alice Kundert, state Public Utilities Commission chairman Dusty Johnson and Public Utilities Commission member Gary Hanson. The list is interesting in many own way, but there’s a theme connecting five of the names that isn’t so positive. Miller, Kirby, Farrar, Roberts and Kundert each lost elections for governor: Miller, Kirby, Roberts and Kundert in primaries; and Farrar to Democrat Dick Kneip in the 1970 general.

Is there a budget crisis? Former state-government officials think so, line up for Knudson rather than Daugaard

Senate Republican leader Dave Knudson rolled out the news today that five former chiefs of staff and budget directors from the Janklow, Mickelson, Miller and Rounds administrations are supporting his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor. Rob Skjonsberg was chief of staff for the first five years of Gov. Mike Rounds’ administration. Frank Brost was chief of staff from 1987 through 1994 for Gov. George S. Mickelson and Gov. Walter Dale Miller. (Mickelson and Brost had agreed to part ways just prior to George’s death in the 1993 state airplane crash and was scheduled to be replaced by Dean Krogman; Brost stayed aboard with Miller.)  Ron Williamson was chief of staff for Gov. Bill Janklow during his first term and into his second, from 1979 through 1983. Jim Hill was budget director in the Mickelson, Miller and Janklow administrations from 1988 into 1995. Steve Zellmer was budget director for Janklow and Mickelson from 1980 through 1988. Implicit in their support of Knudson is the message that they think he is better qualified to be our state’s next governor than Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is strongly endorsed by Rounds. The five are issuing a joint letter to voters stating that South Dakota government is in a budget crisis “unlike any other in the past forty years.” This is intended to counter Daugaard’s letter in which he said South Dakota isn’t in a budget crisis.