Looks to me like South Dakota Democrats are coming up way short as their field for the '14 elections starts to coalesce. Nothing against Joe Lowe (running for Governor), Rick Weiland (running for the U.S. Senate) and Corinna Robinson (running for the U.S. House), but the first question that pops to mind on scanning this line-up is, who are these people? Next question: what sort of qualifications are they bringing to the table? And finally, the most germane question of all: how on earth will they raise the kind of money it will take to mount serious challenges in their respective races? About now I think the best that Dems can hope for is a breakout of scandalous news in the EB-5 investigation that is big enough to taint former Governor Mike Rounds in his bid for the U.S. Senate and sitting Governor Dennis Daugaard in his bid for re-election. There is, of course, one happy note for Dems--they don't have to abandon all hope. Congresswoman Noem is vulnerable just by the fact of being Noem, essentially a tool of outside Republican interests who showed those colors by voting to shut down Mt. Rushmore and other national parks in South Dakota during the peak of last October's tourist season, essentially blowing off her constituents at the behest of a national organization that believed shutting down the federal government was a savvy and productive way of making a political point. However, I doubt that Corinna Robinson will have the political and financial resources necessary to take Noem out, wishful as I am that she could.
And speaking of wishfulness, I still haven't abandoned the notion that my neighbor and Harvard University Professor Steve Jarding could enter the House race and give Noem a whipping. Yes, yes, I know I'm a Republican and all that, but uncompromising my-way-or-the-highway Republicans are the bane of the GOP, considering they've abandoned the notion that the responsibility of federal representation calls for governance, not confrontation, practical solutions, not ideological pipe dreams. I've already said I'd back Jarding if he runs against Noem--and for the record, I still like Mike and plan to back Dennis for re-election.
Meantime, back to the essential problem facing SD Dems next November. Seems to me it's one of leadership. Too bad for them that Tom Daschle seems to have gone missing in recent years, as he's probably the only stature-laden Democrat that can take the party's statewide reins and pull together an organization that can get excited about itself and possibly coax the Steve Jardings and some other forceful Dems that are now in the wings into running, knowing they've got an energized and committed statewide party structure behind them. The shame of it is that some important debates--I'm thinking Daugaard's refusal to take the Medicaid expansion offer from the Feds, for one--probably won't get aired out as vigorously as they should because the announced Dem field will be consumed with the needs to raise money and build up some name recognition among an electorate that will for most part be wondering just who the heck these candidates are before taking the time and making the effort to pay attention to what's actually being said.