Thune Is Angry

Oh the irony. Senator John Thune is upset that, get this, the lame duck Congress has actually brought bills to the floor and got them voted on. How dare they do their jobs!

Republican Senator John Thune says he’s surprised the U.S. Senate is staying so busy in the final days of the session.

He says some of the issues should be carried over to the next session of Congress and shouldn’t be taken up in a lame-duck session.

Amazing how things work when Republican’s don’t have the votes to block bills from being voted on. I hope Thune feels better come January when the House Democrats turn around and give the GOP some of their own obstructionist medicine. (That is if the Dems ever grow a pair…)

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One Of The Shortest Campaigns In History

Wow that was quick.

Sioux Falls Pastor Steve Hickey just announced last week that he was running for the Republican nomination to our lone House seat. Today he announced that he has already dropped out in favor of a State House run.

DATE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Recently announced Congressional candidate Steve Hickey of Sioux Falls said he’s still running, but he’s changing tracks from running for a national to a state office. A Republican and Sioux Falls pastor, Hickey announced today that he is withdrawing his bid for US Congress and is pursuing instead his original goal of running for a State House seat in District 9. He plans to enthusiastically support newly announced US House candidate Kristi Noem of Castlewood. Noem and Hickey announced within an hour of each other last Tuesday. Noem’s intentions to run were unbeknownst to Steve and although she left a message for him on Sunday, he did not get it until after the fact on Tuesday. Hickey’s concern is to not divide the vote in the June primary. From the beginning, Steve’s campaign was not about himself, it was about seeing common-sense Conservative principles and values prevail in November and he is confident Kristi is guided by those same values and principles and that she is the person who can beat Mrs. Sandlin and best represent the people of South Dakota. He said he and his supporters plan to run a strong race in District 9 and cross the finish line into the State House in November.

One less in the race that I wouldn’t have voted for anyway…

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Dykstra Continues His Debate Theme

KELO had a story today about Senate candidate Joel Dykstra again re-iterating his request that incumbent Senator Tim Johnson debate him.

The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota says incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson’s decision not to debate is more of an issue with voters than the senator has let on.

I can’t be sure but I have a feeling Dykstra’s bringing this subject up again has little to do with what South Dakotan’s want and more about desperation from a campaign on life support. The latest poll shows Johnson has actually increased his lead a little to 61-34% according to the latest Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll and wouldn’t you know it, the polling was done a week after Senator Johnson’s announcement that he would not be debating.

So much for it being an issue with most South Dakota voters as Dykstra (and others) would like us to believe.

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Dykstra Gets Threatening Letter

GOP Senate candidate Joel Dykstra’s Sioux Falls office received a threatening letter containing an unknown white substance that eventually was determined to be baby powder according to the Argus Leader.

A letter that arrived at U.S. Senate candidate Joel Dykstra’s Sioux Falls office today contained baby powder, preliminary tests show.

The letter also contained a threat to either Dykstra’s campaign or Republicans in general, said Jim Sideras, a spokesman for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The letter prompted staffers in Dykstra’s office to call 911. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue dispatched a hazardous materials team. Two members of the team suited up and went in the office to test the material with a machine that analyzes chemicals. The preliminary tests showed it was baby powder.

Dykstra joins former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle as recipients of tainted letters though luckily for the Dykstra staffers, his powder turned out to be baby powder.

UPDATE From The Dykstra Campaign:

Dykstra Holding News Conference to Respond to Threating Letter

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Republican Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra will hold a news conference today, Tuesday, August 19 in Sioux Falls to address the threating letter received in today’s mail. The event will be held at the Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters.

For media not able to attend the event there will be a news release, immediately following the news conference on the Dykstra for Senate website at www.joeldykstraforsenate.com or via email.

Dykstra will also be available for one-on-one interviews after the news conference.

Event details, times and location are as follows:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Dykstra for Senate News Conference
Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters
2109 S. Minnesota Ave.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
3:00 p.m

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Lincoln County Democrats Annual Dinner

From the email inbox via Todd Epp:

What: Lincoln County Democrats Annual Dinner

Featuring: Steve Kolbeck, Public Utilities Commissioner

When: Saturday, August 23, 2008 6:00 PM

Where: American Legion, Worthing, SD

Cost $15.00

For More Information: Contact Greg Kniffen at 274.2287 or Phil Sietstra at 331.5833

Paid for and authorized by the Lincoln County Democratic Party, Greg Kniffen, Treasurer

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What's Next For The Senate Race?

So what is next? Has Johnson just handed the race to Dykstra as PP and others now contend or has Johnson built up enough capitol among South Dakotan’s where his not debating will not affect his bid for re-election?

Dykstra has been virtually silent since winning the GOP primary in June, opting for a hands on highway campaign earning him little funding and even less publicity. Will he finally go on the offensive given he won’t be able to do so face to face? We shall see.

I’m leaning towards the political capitol angle but I think that the reaction from this over the next few days will give us a better idea of how this will fly with South Dakotans. Either way, this once one sided race got just a bit more interesting as Johnson himself has injected the health card back into the race.

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Johnson Not Doing Any Debates?

Updated below with MSM confirmation

2 different conservative blogs are reporting that Senator Tim Johnson has decided not participate in any debates against challenger Joel Dykstra.  No official word yet from the Johnson mouthpiece blog Badlands Blue but heads on the right have already started exploding all across South Dakota.

More to come for sure, just monitor the comment sections of the ever increasing number of Johnson should retire posts on SDWC for all the Johnson “love” that will surely follow.

UPDATE: The Argus confirms it

In a press release, Johnson said his speech had not yet improved to the point where a debate would accurately reflect his abilities.

And the Press Release from the Johnson campaign:

“I would like to thank South Dakotans for their patience, prayers, and strong support during the past year. It is because of that support and my job performance over the past year that I know I am 100 percent capable of performing all of the duties of my job as South Dakota’s Senior Senator. I have the full confidence of my doctors, family and colleagues in the Senate as I seek another six-year term.

In the Senate I am able to effectively communicate the needs of our state and my passionately held beliefs.

There is no better evidence of that than my record since returning to the Senate nearly one year ago. I have not missed a single vote, I have acquired hundreds of millions of dollars for projects throughout South Dakota and I chair, attend and fully participate in committee and sub-committee hearings.

I have been open and honest about my recovery. While my speech continues to improve it is not yet 100 percent and I have not yet reached a point in my rehab where my participation in a debate would accurately reflect my capabilities. Therefore I will not participate in traditional political debates during this campaign.”

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Why Dykstra Will Not Win

The folks at Badlands Blue will be glad to tell you that Republican candidate Joel Dykstra has no chance against Tim Johnson because of the almost insurmountable fundraising advantage that the Johnson’s campaign has. And despite calls by Johnson detractors that Senator Johnson is ducking debates because of his health, Todd Epp tells us that these unheeded calls to debate will have no effect on his almost certain re-election as well.

I would like to float my own thoughts on why Joel Dykstra will likely not beat Tim Johnson in November that have nothing to do with money or Johnson’s debating ability. Just look at his voting record.

Why would traditionally red South Dakota get rid of someone that is rated the most conservative Democrat in the Senate (by this group at least) with his seniority for someone that would have almost no clout if elected? Dykstra would surely be more conservative in his voting if a miracle win happened but is there really enough of a difference between the two like there was when John Thune beat Tom Daschle a few years ago?

South Dakotan’s don’t seem to mind putting Democrats in office despite our conservative tendencies, never more so than lately, as long as they have the courtesy to vote for the conservative agenda like Senator Johnson and Rep. Herseth Sandlin often do. So I would guess that as long as South Dakotan’s continue to feel he is healthy enough to serve us, he would be a safe bet to win this fall simply because he votes red enough for most South Dakotan’s to overlook that “D” next to his name.

Oh, and there is that whole George Bush being the most unpopular President in our lifetime thing which makes being a Republican something else that Dykstra will have to overcome as well…

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It's Good To Be The Queen

Is politics really this easy? For Stephanie Herseth Sandlin it appears so if what Badlands Blue is reporting is true.

Following on the heels of the train wreck that was Bruce Whalen’s run for the House 2 years ago, Herseth Sandlin’s current challenger’s campaign doesn’t seem to much of a well oiled machine either.

In short, all of this raises some pretty serious questions about the state of the Lien campaign. For starters, does Lien currently have a campaign manager? If Weber is still there, why did he change his LinkedIn Profile? Did Lien fire Hugh Weber over the false press release he sent out attacking Stephanie Herseth Sandlin? Did he fire him for another reason? Is Chris Lien talking to Lee Breard, the political hack who falsely accused Herseth Sandlin of being impregnated by her Chief of Staff? Is this a sign of the kind of campaign we can expect from Lien? Sounds like the Lien campaign might be in a bit of a mess. Stay tuned…

What makes this even more funny is the rumor that Lowell is floating that Lee Breard might actually be considered to replace Hugh Weber as Lien’s campaign manager. Besides his current affiliation with the secretive open government campaign that PP over at the War College is harping on, Breard’s forwarding the rumor of the mystical Ajay Bruno/Wikipedia Herseth Sandlin secret pregnancy non-story back in 2006 was a traffic generating boon for this site to which I am still seeing the benefits of 2 years later.

It appears, at least to this point, that for the second straight House campaign, it will be good to be “Queen” Stephanie.

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Smoke And Mirrors Or Just Reality

Dakota Voice (Smoke and Mirrors on Stem Cell Research in South Dakota) takes a break this morning from preaching the ills of homosexuality to call out an Argus Leader story on stem cell research in South Dakota. The Argus article in question details South Dakota philanthropist extraordinaire T. Denny Sanford’s efforts to help fund the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine’s stem cell research center.

Bob Ellis of course takes offense with the Argus reporting reality, South Dakota’s ban on embryonic stem cell research, and how that ban could affect our state’s ability to attract top researchers in the stem cell research field. He attempts to read between the lines to figure out the Argus’ ulterior motive because if he doesn’t agree, it must be some liberal media conspiracy.

Ah, there’s the pitch from the “objective” people at the Argus Leader.

Hey, South Dakota! These ignorant Bible-thumping rubes are going to scare off all the smart people! You know, the ones with all the MONEY!”

So now the ultimate purpose of the article starts to come together. Though there’s no direct connection between this Sanford money and the embryonic stem cell research and South Dakota, maybe with Sanford himself as the “bridge” we can create an article to leverage support for getting rid of this “primitive, ignorant” ban on embryonic stem cell research here in South Dakota.

The elitists at the Argus Leader want to stir the ignorant masses to cry out to their legislators to get rid of this “superstition-based” law so that the light of human ingenuity can shine across our state and land…at the cost of innocent human life created in the image of God.

Exactly where is the smoke and mirrors? South Dakota wants to be a leader in medical research in large part because of T. Denny to the point where our re-named Sanford medical system has pledged to cure Type 1 diabetes of which a key to a possible cure is stem cells. Sanford then goes to where he can get that research performed and looks to fund it.

There is your direct connection to Sanford and South Dakota’s Stem cell ban that Mr. Ellis doesn’t see. Is the Argus therefore also wrong in mentioning in support of the end around that:

A. In California embryonic stem cell research is legal, In South Dakota it is not.
B. Right or wrong many top stem cell researchers believe that the most promise in the field is with embryonic stem cells and therefore would prefer to at least be able work with those cells if they want.

Using my Ohio math, A + B = researchers would go where they have access to all the tools they feel they need. In other words top scientists will bypass South Dakota’s ban to work in other states. Not rocket science nor is it bias on the part of the Argus, it’s reality.

Ellis then goes on to take exception with the research in general pointing out that adult stem cell research, has produced many more successes than their embryonic cousins but only presents part of the story.

There are already dozens of cures and therapies from adult stem cell research, including treatments for meningitis-related limb damage, retina regeneration, heart tissue regeneration, angina, diabetes, bone cancer, nerve regeneration, liver cancer, and leukemia.

Embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human embryos, has yet to produce a SINGLE success.

While everything he writes is true, it must be because it is almost word for word taken from Family Research Counsel’s talking points, he fails to put those results into context. Ever since the Bush Administration banned using federal dollars to fund research using embryonic stem cells, much of the research being federally funded, has moved away from embryonic cells out of necessity meaning that the vast majority of research is done on adult cells.

Has that slowed or even prevented cures from being found? Maybe, we might never know, but when privately funded research is available that allows research using embryonic cells, you would expect scientists to flock to it.

All decisions have consequences, so when South Dakotan’s decided they do not want embryonic stem cell research being performed in our state why do some of us still act surprised when faced with the possible loss of jobs because of it? Are we “Bible thumping rubes”? I guess that depends on your perspective.

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