What was that about watching sausage-making and politics? Regarding what is turning out to be some intriguing and spirited pre-Primary jockeying among Republicans that might be vying for the vacating Senator Tim Johnson's U.S. Senate seat, my good friend Cory Heidelberger who runs South Dakota's best political blog, The Madville Times, just put together an intriguing piece about the money- and influence-go-round. Quoting Cory:
"The Rounds for Senate campaign paid Republican blogger Pat Powers
$2,136 for advertising during the third quarter of 2013. According to Rounds's Q3 FEC report, Team Rounds paid Powers's Dakota Campaign Store $636 on August 17 and $1,500 on September 27.
The Rounds-enriched Powers natters away this morning about
Rounds's impressive campaign war chest but declines to mention his own
appearance in the FEC report. Power pages through his (forgive me, Rounds's) opponents' FEC reports and razzes Stace Nelson but praises Annette Bosworth, which fits perfectly with the Rounds camp strategy of weakening their greatest threat by puffing up non-contenders.
I've previously written about the caution
with which we should read Ken Santema's blog posts about the U.S.
Senate race in South Dakota, given that he is an official member of Rep.
Stace Nelson's official and sprawling statewide campaign team.
Santema has been transparent about his preference for Nelson in the
Senate race. Santema makes this support clear by contributing $250 to
Nelson's campaign (as reported on Nelson's Q3 report to the FEC). His bias is open, honest, and unbought.
Meanwhile, Pat Powers has adopted a façade of neutrality in the GOP
primary. He has rebranded himself on his blog and Twitter as @SDSenate2014, a clearinghouse for "reporting" on the highly watched Senate race.
Let us be absolutely clear: Mike Rounds is paying Pat Powers for
advertising in this campaign. A politician advertising on a political
blog is not by itself news. I've run advertisements for candidates, some
whom I've supported, and some who wouldn't necessarily get my vote.
When I have run such ads, I've made clear where I stand.
Pat Powers isn't doing that. He's pretending to be neutral while
taking thousands of dollars from the one candidate whom his posts favor.
That payment and poorly faked neutrality together call into question
the reliability of any "analysis" Pat Powers offers on the Republican
Senate primary in South Dakota.
p.s.: I have not caught mention of any other bloggers, myself
included, in the FEC Q3 reports. But Rounds's Q3 report shows that he
pays slimy campaigner Dick Wadhams gets $3,500 a month for advice."
For all the intra-party intrigue, though, to me the race is still about who can best protect this seat from being influenced by the Republican Party's death-wishers, aka the Tea Party. Former Governor Mike Rounds' comments (albeit after the fact) about the futility of the Tea Party-orchestrated U.S. Government shutdown and near default on the federal debt give him the inside track as far as I'm concerned, so for now--I like Mike. This doesn't mean I can't go into "I used to like Mike" mode. I intend to stick with the candidate who will be utterly committed to South Dakota's, not the Tea Party's, best interests. That mantle is still up for grabs.