Cynthia Mickelson spends 5.5x more than closest opponent

The final 2017 Sioux Falls School Board Race Final Finance Reports came in on July 18. With those reports in we can present the ‘REAL’ numbers of what was spent in the race. I am comparing the top two vote getters, Dobberpuhl and Mickelson.


Mickelson, 2,278 Votes. She spent $6.12 per vote

(Spent $13,944. She raised $21,504)


Dobberpuhl, 1,811 Votes. He spent $1.39 per vote

(Spent $2,524. He raised a little under $2,000)


I originally posted that Mickelson spent 7-10x more than Dobberpuhl, which was NOT TRUE and wanted to correct this with the final numbers.

Mickelson’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Mickelson-YearEnd Report) and First Report (PDF DOC: cyn-a11)

Dobberpuhl’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Dobberpuhl-Final)

I spoke to the School Board about the last school board election and not only raised concerns about how the election was handled (Lack of precincts, etc.) I suggested that there should be a spending cap of $5,000 for candidates. I think it is very hard for regular candidates to compete when their opponents outspend them in such a drastic way.


#1 LJL on 07.27.17 at 10:40 pm

Capping election spending would be a way to keep elections more competitive, but it’s already ruled to be unconstitutional.

#2 l3wis on 07.28.17 at 8:25 am

And the TV and Radio stations love it.

#3 Emoluments Clause on 07.28.17 at 10:17 am

The Sioux Falls School District needs to be divided into election districts. So as to guarantee that all parts of the District are represented.

Although, this may not itself address the money issue. If you look at the results for the most recent School Board election you will notice that the race between Mickelson and Dobberpuhl was 50/50 absent two of the ten “Voting Centers.” And when you take that into consideration, you begin to recognize the finite qualities of money in a school board race, which could be negated to a large degree with genuine “neighborhood races” at the sub-District level.

#4 l3wis on 07.28.17 at 10:23 am

Randy pointed that out to me after the election. It makes you wonder if there would have been more Northern precincts if he would have done better and had a better voter turnout. Obviously money was an issue to. But I will give Mickelson credit for ONE thing she did in her campaign. While Dobberpuhl paid for his robocalls, Mickelson got volunteers to make calls on her behalf, rumor has it, it was one of the Republican women’s group, and I think some HS kids. Party affiliation certainly helps, ironically, even in a non-partisan race.

#5 matt johnson on 07.28.17 at 10:43 am

Are you suggesting that democrats can’t make phone calls- they could use their obama phones;

#6 Emoluments Clause on 07.28.17 at 12:27 pm

If all of the precincts had been open for business in the last School Board election, I think we would be talking about Board Member Dobberpuhl right now and not Board Member Mickelson.

“Voting Centers” are nothing but voting suppression centers. Maybe it is just me, but often I think many of us live in a ninth grade idealistic civic class mentality about our democracy, but while we live in this dream world, others are constantly dreaming up ways, like with “Voting Centers,” to manipulate and control the outcome of our “democratic elections.”

This manipulation and control of our “democratic elections” is not a Democratic issue, nor a Republican issue. Rather, it is an issue which all of us should be concerned about regardless of our often partisan bents.

As far as the “Republican women’s group,” I am not surprised. It would have been a big embarrassment to the Mickelsons and the GOP had Cynthia lost. And if our School Board elections truly promoted democracy, and not just the image of convenient democratic voting, she would have lost.

The School Board’s strategy for elections is similar to the national GOP’s just recently failed health care ideas. HHS Secretary Price often talked about “access” to health care with no guarantees, and the School Board elections offer merely the illusion of “democratic convenience,” when they are really designed to protect the elite just as the GOP’s health care reform ideas were too…. Well, until McCain came back to town that is…. We could all use a McCain on the School Board right now, or how about a majority of them…. 😉

#7 l3wis on 07.28.17 at 2:43 pm

matt, the problem is Dobberpuhl is one of those ‘evil’ independents that the Dems won’t even support.

#8 The D@ily Spin on 07.28.17 at 7:08 pm

Let’s face it, schools are discrimination. The worst bigots are the Mickelsons. Schools on one side of town are tents and sidewalk chalk while on the other side of town they’re palaces and secretaries. Let the rich have Sioux Falls, move to an outside school district where there’s equal rights rich and poor without racist segregation.

#9 Blasphemo on 07.29.17 at 10:29 am

It’s nothing new in our country that a big campaign war chest can help buy an election. But, at the local level when you can see that the largest number of political contributors and biggest donors pretty much represent the membership rosters of Minnehaha Country Club and The Country Club of Sioux Falls, it’s rather sickening. C’mon aristocrats – you have the exclusive clubs, mansions, luxury toys, tuition for the finest schools, license-to-steal advanced degrees, jet set travel and trust funds – isn’t that enough? The income/class structures below you actually have intelligent members who can contribute to society as well. Allow some other inspired citizens to have a place at the table.