This letter sent to the Argus Endorser by Ben Birks was denied publication with a handwritten note that said, “No such refusal occurred. No action taken to deny voters their own decisions.”
Before I begin, I would like to congratulate Rep. Deb Peters on her victory and wish her all the best in the State Senate.
Last Friday October 29th, a District 9 Senate debate was held at the Maricar Community Center. There was an excellent turnout of Democrats and Republicans alike, & it should’ve been a big deal. Earlier in the month, Rep. Peters skipped the Argus Leader editorial interview while later gaining the Argus’ endorsement. That Friday evening during the debate, Rep. Peters made some pretty jaw-dropping statements about Indian country in South Dakota.
Thanks to the First Amendment, Rep. (now State Senator-elect) Peters is entitled to her opinion, but the Argus Leader and other major news outlets in Sioux Falls refused to let the public know how a three-term legislative incumbent felt on the issues. As Argus Leader Managing Editor Mr. Patrick Lalley alluded to on Election Night, legitimate stories can fizzle if the news media doesn’t find what’s happened expedient or relevant.
As someone who reads the ArgusLeader.com every morning, I ask you to seriously consider how you select your news. It seems disingenuous to me that on one hand you would champion open government in Pierre but on the other hand, deny voters the chance to decide who should be elected to a particular position in government.
It seems the Argus Endorser gets a little testy about criticism of their endorsement policy.
I first want to congratulate Brian Liss for his win in District 13. He made the smart move by (pretending) to be a Republican on the ballot. Brian is actually an indy constitutionalist, but hey, who votes for them? I also was happy to see Marking getting over 6% of the vote. While this isn’t a victory for indies, I was glad to see that someone who virtually spent no money was able to garner that many votes (over 16,000).
Was there some shockers tonight? Sure, let’s go over them.
First off, I am amazed how completely uninformed voters are in our state. It baffles my fucking mind. But I must also admit, our choices this year were bleak. Very bleak. While most of the Republicans running were wingnut crazies, they were organized, the Democrats were uninformed, unorganized and blatantly lazy.
• Measure 13. In the last week or so, I had the feeling they would lose. When the hospital lobby dumped thousands of dollars into the No Campaign, I knew it would be a done deal. I just never realized they would win by so much. Who really cares? People who smoke pot will continue to do so. Nothing will change and the war on drugs will never be won. Not in the ballot box and not on the streets. If you need to smoke pot to relieve pain, continue to do so. Marijuana use may be illegal, but it is not immoral, God created it. Carry on.
• What was not a surprise was the smoking ban. People hate second hand smoke. Done deal.
• The biggest shockers of the night? Steve Hickey and Jenna Haggar. Not sure how they pulled it off but I am sure it was a combination of anti-union, anti-abortion rhetoric. Can’t wait for these two to embarrass the shit out of us in Pierre. So will Jenna get her own place now and move out of her parent’s basement?
• The Mark Johnston win does not surprise me. Jerstad has been running off the rails for years. You could have put Bozo the clown up against her and he would have won. What most people don’t know is that Mark isn’t much better. He is executive with Sanford Health. Yippee! This won’t be good for healthcare rights of regular South Dakotans. Mark is also a weasel. When I was helping with the sales tax petition in SF, Mark was an opponent and he got an editorial published in the Argus Leader under his name that was probably written by councilor Vernon Brown. I don’t trust him farther then I can spit.
• And the hits keep coming. Shawn Tornow getting elected also shocks me. This is a guy who was fired from the city attorney’s office for his nefarious deeds and his ignorance of constitutional rights. Yeah, he’ll make a great lawmaker.
• Herseth-Sandlin lost as I predicted. What is sad, is that a majority of South Dakotans trust a wealthy, uneducated, law-breaking, (welfare) farmer over a Georgetown graduate. South Dakota ranks 50th on many levels, but we now rank #1 on political ignorance. Noem as our US Congresswoman makes me sick to my stomach. What is even more sad is that I am watching Noem read her prepared acceptance speech instead of saying it from the heart. But that is hard to do when you do not have one.
I will tell you that I am giddy about one thing though, Republicans may have some big majorities now, so let’s see what direction the ‘Party of No’ will take our country and state. Hold on tight. If you think things are bad now, hunker down, because our economy is going to go from stomach acid to sloppy turds real quick.
I will leave you with a funny screenshot (one more reason why our POS local newspaper should not be endorsing candidates) they can’t even understand the difference between vote percentages and precinct percentages.
I thought you might be interested in some pictures I took at two polling places this morning in the dark hours before 6 am. There were 64 Scott Heidepriem signs occupying every available space at the Minnehaha County Courthouse and 66 Heidepriem signs the Hawthorne school at 601 North Spring Avenue (below).
Has the Argus Leader endorsed candidates in the past that are worthy of higher office? Sure. But as I have said on several occasions, they should not be in that business in the first place. Four people in a newsroom shouldn’t be telling people how to vote. Newsrooms should not be bias. Let us bloggers be partisan. Your job is to report THE NEWS and to state the facts. As I told political reporter, Jonathan Ellis of the AL in a podcast, (paraphrasing)
“If the Argus has space for endorsements they certainly have space to do profiles, and that is what they should be doing instead of endorsements.”
But let’s look at the matter at hand. District 9. Hopefully the majority of voters in that district don’t get the Argus Leader, and if they do they should ignore their endorsements;
Legislative District 9: Deb Peters, R-Hartford, for Senate; Bob Deelstra, R-Hartford, and Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, for House
Do I think Steffy can still pull this off? Sure. But after the last two debates, I think Marking has stolen some ground, but I also think his vote will be split between the two candidates. With Noem’s Thune endorsement and bus tour I think it will be hard for Steffy to emerge. Oh well. It really doesn’t matter, Noem and Herseth have something in common, they are both politicians that spew worthless crap that no one cares about.
DOOGARD 57% • HEIDI-SCOTT 43%
While Scott has been gaining ground, it is hard to compete with Doogard and raising 2x as much and campaigning for 3 years. I also think what hurts Scott is the fact that he is Republican light. There was no Democrat in the race this year.
MINNEHAHA COUNTY COMMISSION
1) BENINGA 2) BARTH 3) NESIBA
Though it pains me to see Beninga win this, I think his name recognition will put him in, I also think that is what will launch Barth (incumbent) and Nesiba.
MINNEHAHA COUNTY AUDITOR
LITZ 70% • NIPE 30%
While I would love to see Bob leave the council, I would rather it would not be this way. Nipe has virtually done NO campaigning. I couldn’t even tell you what she looks like and I have only seen ONE yard sign. Bob’s name recognition will win him this seat. It is a little scary though considering he thinks this is a ‘management job’ and not an ‘auditor job’. Maybe someone should tell him what an auditor does before he punches in on our dime the first day. He also has made the comment that the state runs 80% of his budget so it can’t be that tough of a job. Gawd help us.
YES 50.5% • NO 49.5%
Okay, I know I am bias on this issue AND the polling doesn’t look good for IM13, BUT, think about it. How many people are going to say “Yes, I support legalizing Mary Jane.” to a pollster that knows their name? It’s different in a ballot box and polling on medical marijuana has always been off across our country. It may not pass, but I sure as Hell don’t trust the polling.
YES 62% • NO 38%
This a forgone conclusion. People hate smoking. Done deal.