What’s next for retiring Augie president Rob Oliver and term limited Mayor Huether?


Rob has accomplished a lot as Augie president. He could easily run for political office, and win. At 62, he could be weighing running for office as something to cross off his bucket list. Many retired people in high stature careers decide they want to serve the public after their successful private careers. More power to them.

Is Rob considering a mayoral run in 2018? Not sure, you would have to ask him. But there are some interesting factors if he decides to run.

It is no secret that Rob Oliver is close friends with Mayor Mike Huether, they are probably besties. That being said, an endorsement from Mike and even getting him to help with a mayoral campaign would be beneficial to him. I have always said Mike’s biggest accomplishment is getting elected after being a virtual nobody. Oliver isn’t a nobody and well known in the community. With the help of Huether he could be a real contender.

There is also the factor if Mayor Huether runs for governor or another higher office. He has hinted recently on the Greg Belfrage show that he may become an independent. It is no secret that Joe Lowe and Jeff Barth are seriously considering running on the Democratic ticket. It is also no secret that Jackley and Mickelson have already organized their campaign camps on the Republican side.

So what about the Huether camp? If he decides to run, will he want to challenge Lowe and Barth or go it alone as an independent?

The more I watch Huether over the past few months, it seems to me he isn’t running for higher office. I think he has loved being mayor, and wants to be mayor again. So how does he accomplish that? The rumor floating around is that since Mike is term limited, he couldn’t run again for 4 years, and he may be looking for a ‘place holder’ to run. That could be a lot of people. Anderson is seriously considering a run, Oliver could run and even Jim Entenman has been mentioned.

I’m not sure what Mike has planned, as a huge anti-transparency politician, he keeps his cards close, but some people close to him have mentioned to me, he may not be interested in the governorship.

Time will tell I guess because there is also the Noem factor. Maybe the secret is written on the tyvek behind the bent up siding on the Events Center? Now that is a conspiracy theory you can fun with.


#1 Deep throat on 09.27.16 at 1:45 pm

It’s not Lowe and Barth who the Democratic party leaders want. I guarantee if they are already planning ways to sabotage Mike they will sabotage them as well. They want Billy Sutton pure and straightforward.

#2 The D@ily Spin on 09.27.16 at 2:24 pm

Jackley should win governor. I suspect he’s timing a case against Huether for closer to the election. Huether cronies will turn states witness against him. Considering public funds fraud, I’d like to see Huether’s next role mopping floors in federal prison. It’s not something you run for but will try to run from.

#3 Ljl on 09.27.16 at 3:03 pm

Let’s not forget his biggest accomplishment, getting the mayor to stiff the taxpayers with a pool for the new Augie swim team

#4 l3wis on 09.27.16 at 3:36 pm

Ljl, I hadn’t heard about the swim team. So we give them the Arena for basketball games, and now an indoor pool.

#5 l3wis on 09.27.16 at 3:38 pm

Deep throat, I had a discussion with some insider dems about Sutton. They tell me he is personally hesitant because of his age, but I have also heard that a cowboy hat wearing rancher from the North wouldn’t carry Sioux Falls. Of course, you would think the Dems wouldn’t want to repeat the disaster called Susan Wismer, but hey, there is a reason they haven’t controlled Pierre for 40 years.

#6 anonymous on 09.27.16 at 3:51 pm

He’ll retire just in time to help run MMM’s run for SD governor…..maybe his pal Dave Nelson will co-chair the campaign with him just as they did when MMM ran for Mayor in 2010 and 2014.

#7 l3wis on 09.27.16 at 5:32 pm

That crossed my mind also. I talked to a TV reporter about an hour ago who told me that Oliver told him that he wants to spend more time with his elderly parents.

#8 The Blogger Formerly Known as "Winston" on 09.28.16 at 12:02 am

I like your theory about using Oliver to keep the mayoral seat under Huether’s control. It reminds me of a press conference Janklow had back in 1986 after he lost the Republican senatorial primary to then Senator Jim Abdnor.
A member of the media asked Janklow at that press conference what he thought of the two gubernatorial candidates, George S. Mickelson and Lars Herseth. Instead of promoting Mickelson as you would expect a lame duck sitting Republican governor to do, Janklow talked about how both men would make a good governor and how he didn’t have a problem with either as governor, which was a strange comment coming from a partisan in a race that was known to be tight. But my guess was that Janklow actually wanted Herseth to win back in ’86 so that he could run against him in ’90 and beat him versus having to wait until ’94 to run for governor again. Thus, your Oliver conspiracy theory has credence with me given past history. The mayor’s seat is to Huether like the governor’s seat was to Janklow.

There is no doubt that Oliver and Huether are tight. Weren’t Oliver and Dave Nelson Huether’s joint co-chairs for Huether’s two mayoral races in ’10 and ’14?

I question if someone directly associated with Augie could win such a high profile job like mayor of Sioux Falls, however. Although, Reynold Nesiba’s recent state senate victory and Susan Randall’s past victories are proof that those associated with Augie can win elections. One only has to recall Halverson’s loss to Dave Munson in 2006, who was a damaged incumbent, to help question if an Augie president could become mayor as Halverson was Augie president prior to Oliver.

There is a growing anti-establishment movement in this country and I do not think it is going to go away any time soon. It is causing a realignment of our politics from one of left versus right to one of elite versus the common man and I think an Oliver candidacy for mayor could easily
fall victim to the realties of a “Town versus Gown” fate.

The reason this reality did not stop Nesiba’s recent state senate bid, however, is because one, it was realized within the confines of a Democratic primary, and two, he ran a much better on the ground campaign than Pat Kirschman in my estimation.

I also think that Christine Erickson will most likely be the next mayor of Sioux Falls, if she runs. Therefore, a plausible Oliver candidacy is academic at best (No pun intended). She appears as though she is being groomed for the job much as Dave Munson was back in the day except at a faster pace. Her involvement with the winning side on the school calendar issue as well as her new found initial acquiescence with the anti-administration building movement suggests to me that she is planning a run and is being strongly advised on how to do it, and how to form the right coalition to do it.

But back to Huether and a potential gubernatorial bid, there are a lot of names being thrown out there as plausible Democratic nominees for 2018, but personally i believe you have to be brain dead to not support Huether as a Democrat for governor in ’18, however. He is the only one with the money and name I.D. who could launch a credible campaign against the Republican nominee, whoever he or she may be.

Now, I realize that many in the Democratic Party see Huether as too pro-business and controlling and thus as a pseudo Republican, but just to have a different crowd take over the governor’s mansion with new blood and the removal of forty years of stale Republican blood in the governor’s seat would be good for South Dakota and the Democratic party, in terms of opportunity in helping to create a whole new crop of future Democratic leaders in this state; and that reality alone justifies my Huether advocacy quite frankly.

Deep Throat mentioned that the Democratic Party establishment is grooming Billy Sutton for a ’18 gubernatorial bid. I have heard that rumor, too. I don’t know Sutton, but I know he is well liked and comes from a strong and loyal South Dakota Democratic family. I believe it was his grandfather who ran with Roger McKellips back in ’78 against Janklow, in Janklow’s first run for governor with Lowell Hansen. But I truly believe only Huether can win as a Democrat. With Sutton, I am afraid that the powers that be within the SDDP think they can trick the South Dakota voters, or swing voters, into voting for the Democratic nominee just because he is a rancher who wears a cowboy hat. They tried in my opinion a similar trick in ’14 by running two women for governor and lt. governor and that certainly did not work.

Although, Wismer and Blake are both good and capable Democratic leaders in our state, I see their past gubernatorial bid as well as the hint of a future Sutton candidacy of how too manipulative the thinking has become with many of our Democratic strategists in this state. This manipulative quality is a left-over from the days when South Dakota Democrats could win congressional races with the help of manipulative means and this quality I am afraid is still embedded into the SDDP’s DNA, but no longer to any avail. South Dakota Democrats just need to let thinks happen and if they would have just let things happen in ’14, I believe Lowe would have a ran a much stronger campaign for Democrats in the state and made our Party more credible as a result.

A course, all of my thoughts are in the absence of Amendment V passing. If “V” passes it becomes a brave new world in may ways for South Dakotans and the two major political parties. I have pondered recently, a “What if” and it is a very big “What if,” and in some ways a very silly one, but it is worth pondering and fun to think about…. What if, “V” passes and we have this gubernatorial “jungle primary” in South Dakota in ’18 with a large quantity of “Republican” candidates on the primary gubernatorial ballot along with Huether, who markets himself as a Democrat/Independent given his recent comments on the Greg Belfage show, and the Democratic establishment runs an anti-Huether “Democrat” as well for governor, but the outcome of this primary is that the top “Republican” vote-getter ends up running a strong third place, because the “Republican” vote has been deluded due to too many “Republican” candidates and Huether’s ability to make inroads into that base as an “New Independent,” while the anti-Huether candidate takes either first or second in the primary do to some anti-Huether resentment and a strong voter registration drive by the “Democrats” to stop Huether, thus resulting in a fall ballot where there are only two Democrats running for governor with the Republicans left on the side lines…. And here is where it gets real interesting, the Republicans would then be forced in the fall to back Huether for governor because he is more pro-business and with the help of “V” is released from any partisan constraints as governor. Oh, what irony, what irony that would be….You know, they say life is stranger than fiction. Well, here you go….;-)

#9 Al Anon on 09.28.16 at 8:45 am

Mickelson is our next Gov. Huether wouldn’t get within 25 points of him no matter who’s helping him.

#10 The Blogger Formerly Known as "Winston" on 09.28.16 at 2:27 pm

Al Anon, I would agree with you to a point, that Mickelson is Huether’s greatest eventual challenger in a gubernatorial bid. And that is because, with all due respect, he is the “John-John” candidate of all of the prospective gubernatorial candidates for 2018.

However, if you look at his father’s electoral numbers for his two gubernatorial races in ’86 and ’90. You will notice that he ran much weaker than other Republican gubernatorial nominees in similar times. His father received 51% of the vote in ’86 and 58% of the vote in ’90, while most Republicans tend to get elected and/or hold on to the governor’s office with numbers between 62 and 71%.

Keep in mind also, that Mark’s father was the only sitting SD Republican governor to have a chamber of the state legislature become controlled by the minority party, the Democrats.

I think all of this is because the Mickelsons are seen as “Country Club Republicans,” which is the one Achilles heel for a Mickelson gubernatorial candidacy in 2018. And although, Huether is himself a wealthy individual, I think it would be easier for him to campaign amongst the average voters, since he once was one… He just has to be able to overcome the “John-John” mystique.

#11 Michael Wyland on 09.28.16 at 3:42 pm

I got lost in the long post when he mentioned Susan Randall’s political victories. What is Project Vote Smart missing? See: https://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/137863/susan-randall#.V-wqQ8kuyCw

#12 LJL on 09.28.16 at 9:22 pm

The Midco Aquatics center. This is the first year Augie will have women’s swim team and they’ll be practicing at Midco. Same with USF.

#13 The Blogger Formerly Known as "Winston" on 09.28.16 at 11:55 pm

MW, the Project Vote Smart is missing the fact that Susan beats her Republican opponents, in recent legislative races, in the mostly less elitist parts of District 12, which are in Minnehaha County, but has lost her two legislative races in the past due to the overwhelming numbers her Republican opponents can produce in the more elitist precincts (just two actually) in Lincoln county in the southern end of District 12… which proves my point that she is an exception to the rule as I was referring too among past/present/and future “Augie” candidates.

If you want to call one against two a victory and not “victories,” that is fine. I get it. I want to thank you, however, for highlighting how she is a victim of elitist/Republican gerrymandering and why we all need to vote for Amendment T to guarantee balanced elections in the future…

It was not that long ago that some of the precincts which are now in 15 were once in 12. If that was still the case, it would be “victories” and not “victory” to make you happy, but regardless, the electoral math proves my point, in terms of an Augie candidate and the exceptionalism of her liking by the average hard working non-elitist voter in the core of Sioux Falls.

#14 Michael Wyland on 09.29.16 at 10:27 am

Winston, I was a GOP primary candidate in District 12 twice in the 1990s, and I remember it as being a “swing GOP” district then. Moderate Republicans like Keith Paisley and Dave Munson were perennial winners, and where conservative Republican Hal Wick and (don’t know how moderate or liberal) Democrat Bob Caselli fought to razor-thin winning margins more than once. That was when the southern district boundary was 57th St. and no part of the district was west of I-29.

#15 The Blogger Formerly Known as "Winston" on 09.29.16 at 12:24 pm

MW, actually, Bob Caselli did not fight “razor-thin” elections in the 1990s. He always won by very comfortable margins in his two races.

In fact, he was the top vote getter in ’92 and he topped Republicans Munson and Paisley’ numbers, which is a great feat for a Democrat in 12 (In ’90, he was 2nd among six legislative candidates in 12, in terms of the total number of votes earned).

You are confusing Caselli with former State Senator John McIntrye, who use to fight “razor-thin” battles with Wick back then. That is why in the first part of the last decade, the Republicans added Tea to District 12 to put a stop to any Democratic capability.

Jerstad did win two state senate races with Tea involved as a Democrat in the last decade in 12, but one was “razor-thin” and the other was by a less closer margin. But that was also when Sandin and Johnson were winning by big margins, too, as the entire mood of the country was different then for a brief time due to Bush fatigue and his endless unnecessary wars. (Actually, another “Augie” win for you, thanks to Bush fatigue.)

We are definitely being gerrymandered in Minnehaha County. District 15 has moved south, in order to maintain a Republican dominance in 12 and 13. This move has been at some expense to Republican dominance in 9, but they still have the upper hand in 9 and they get significant guarantees with the eventual outcomes in 12 and 13 due to this Republican gerrymandering strategy in Minnehaha County.