Who is Ann Tornberg kidding?

Ann Tornberg is running for Re-Election as SDDP Chair. I know. Almost more baffling than Constitutional Carry. You can read her BIO and Plea below, but I did get a good barrel laugh out of this;

“There is still much to do and no one understands that more than the person who has the experience, work ethic, and perseverance to take the job despite the challenge and the critics.”

You have ‘CRITICS’ because your tenure has been a total failure! We have had enough of your ‘Experience’. It’s time to Elect a NEW chair that wants to move the party forward instead of incredibly backwards.

Ann Tornberg, Running for Re-Election as SDDP Chair

Background: Ann is a retired high school English teacher, speech and debate coach, having spent 32 years at Beresford and Sioux Falls Lincoln HS.  Prior to retiring in 2010, she was elected President of the Sioux Falls Education Association, the largest public union in the state of SD, at that time. She first ran for the State Legislature in 2010 and did so in three more cycles.  While she lost these races in a highly GOP District (District 16 has 4,000 more Republicans than Democratic voters) she knew there were other ways to serve and became a volunteer legislative aide serving every day in Pierre at four Sessions (2013-2016).  She was elected Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party in Dec. of 2014, starting her four-year term in Jan. of 2015.

Ann and her husband of 43 years, Mike, own and operate their four-generation family farm south of Beresford.  Their two daughters (one a family physician, the other a teacher) are both married to farmers. Their six grandkids are just as smart and talented as your own (if you are lucky enough to have them).

As with all other Democratic state and county officers, Ann is entirely a volunteer.

Prior to becoming Chair, Ann served on the SDDP Executive Board (2010-2014) and is Chair of the Union County Democrats. Why run again for an unpaid full-time job? Ann explains:

“I have learned, adjusted, and grown through this position. We expanded with a Rapid City office, have five full-time year-round employees, and just approved the 2019 budget to add a full time Tribal Organizer. We’ve grown Founder’s Club from 160 to 430 members in four year. I believe I am best equipped to continue to expand relationships with county leaders, legislators, potential candidates, other progressive groups, and Democratic leaders from other states. I have regular personal communications with DNC Chair Tom Perez.  My experience authoring the Delegate Selection Plan for SD will be essential for the 2020 National Presidential Convention. There is only one direction to move…forward.  I believe I am the person best equipped to keep moving in that direction.

There is still much to do and no one understands that more than the person who has the experience, work ethic, and perseverance to take the job despite the challenge and the critics.

The current Vice Chair, Joe Lowe has decided not to run.  I want to thank him for his service.  If I am re-elected as Chair on March 23, Larry Lucus will run as Vice Chair.  As a former educator, Vice Chair of the SD Education Association, and State Legislator, Larry brings a wealth of experience and connections to this team.  Thank-you Larry for your willingness to serve.

Larry and I would sincerely appreciate your support on March 23 as we elect the officers who will lead us for the next four years.”


#1 Sheldon Osborn on 01.13.19 at 9:38 am

To help everyone evaluate Ann Tornberg’s desire to be reelected as South Dakota Democratic Party Chair, I present part of my October 5th,2018 invitation to Drinking Liberally:

“Turning to the South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP): While I hate being the bearer of bad news, someone has to report it. The SDDP held a State Central Committee meeting in Rapid City on September 22nd in conjunction with its annual Buffalo Round-Up Dinner and they failed to make a quorum. They needed 14 counties for a quorum but only 12 attended the meeting. Notably, except for Charles Mix, no representative from a County with a dominate Native American population attended the meeting.

Which brings me to a matter of accountability: In April, Ann Tornberg, the SDDP Chair, when asked about the SDDP’s voter registration plans, announced the SDDP had received a $50,000.00 grant from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for voter registration in South Dakota with a particular emphasis on registering Native American voters. Six months have past since Ann’s announcement and a check of the South Dakota Secretary of State’s voter registration numbers suggests that the DNC didn’t get much bang for its $50,000.00. Since May 1st, Statewide Democratic voter registration declined by 42 voters, from 157,160 to 157,118. In contrast, Republican registration increased by 6,698 voters, from 247,235 to 253,933. A check of several counties with large Native American populations reveals little improvement in Democratic voter registration in these counties either. Some examples: Democratic voter registration declined by 9 in Buffalo County (622 in May, 613 in October), by 8 in Dewey County (2006 in May, 1998 in October), by 30 in Moody County (1593 in May, 1563 in October) and by 48 in Roberts County (3099 in May, 3051 in October). Democratic voter registration did increase by 39 in Oglala Lakota County (5344 in May, 5383 in October) and by 19 in Todd County (2908 in May, 2927 in October). Overall, in these six counties Democratic voter registration declined by 37. One has to wonder how effectively Ann Tornberg and the SDDP spent the $50,000.00….. I need a drink.”

If this information is not enough to question Ann’s reelection bid, I suggest everyone review the SDDP’s abysmal performance in both the 2016 and 2018 general elections. 2018 was supposed to be a Democratic year, but, except for Billie Sutton who lost by 3%, every statewide Democratic candidate lost by double digit margins and Democratic representation in the legislature declined from an already very low 17 to 16 seats.

I will give Ann this, she works hard. But Democrats need more than hard work, they need someone who works smart too. There must be someone else out there.

#2 The Un-Affiliated Progressive on 01.13.19 at 10:09 am

Ann has worked hard and personally sacrificed for the party but despite all of that 2018 was a disaster. Extremely good qualified candidates running for the top 3 spots, across the state and legislature but no success.

Who are the candidates for Chair? Has there been additional recruitment to encourage well qualified others to run ?

Is the SDDP even salvageable? Another political party emerges to compete but is not fringe?

Would Ann with her drive, skills and passion be better serving in another capacity such as volunteering as an aid during session for example?

The numbers just are not there and when you have good people lets not lose them.

#3 l3wis on 01.13.19 at 10:23 am

John Cunningham has announced who is very qualified. Two other candidates will be announcing soon, who are also very qualified. I expect more. So yes, Ann can be replaced.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.13.19 at 2:47 pm

Isn’t it in the Japanese culture, that when a airliner crashes the CEO of that airliner then resigns out of respect for the loss of many souls?…. Well, I think it is time for the SDDP to adopt this same virtue.

The fact that Ann’s greatest accomplishment over the last four years – by her own estimate – is increasing Founder’s Club memberships is ‘Exhibit A’ of how the SDDP has become merely a social club, when it really needs to start being a political party.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Ann as a person, she has a lot of energy, but unlike any other SDDP chairperson in modern times, she has been given not a two, but a four year term, and a “Blue Wave” at that; but what do we as a political party, however, really have to show for it, after all of that?

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