If Mssrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein were Republicans they'd be giddy about the numbers showing up in a flurry of polls that just came out. I know, I know, it ain't over 'til it's over, but just the same it looks to me like a Republican sweep is about to happen in South Dakota's statewide races. Rounds has finally cleared the 40% hurdle in what's likely to be a plurality-determined senate race, his two major opponents having faded fast in the last week or so. NBC just came out with one on the governor's race showing Daugaard crushing Wismer by 40%. As they materialize over the next few days, I'm sure polls of all the races will confirm the big leads that Pubs have been maintaining for months now.
Like probably a lot of my fellow Pubs, I'm feeling somewhere between okay to somewhat resigned about the situation--and I'm uncomfortably ambivalent about the likelihood that Mike Rounds will be our newest U.S. Senator. On the state level, it would be nice if Governor Daugaard's caretaking nature could be goosed up with some leadership and vision. And Attorney General Jackley's reluctance to come forward with a forceful "we'll get to the bottom of this" approach to the EB-5 fiasco only adds to a general sense that lethargy will remain the ongoing style among the top managers in South Dakota.
As to the House race, much as I've disdained Kristi Noem since she stabbed her U.S. Government-dependent constituents in the back last year by voting to shut down the federal government, she will at least bring some experience and a long-time resident's knowledge of South Dakota-specific issues to the House of Representatives. Those are qualities lacking in her earnest but unprepared opponent Corinna Robinson. My hope for Noem is that she develops some sensitivity to South Dakotans and their needs before jumping on an ideological bandwagon like the one that almost wrecked the economy last year.
As to Rounds, the final chapter on the EB-5 story has yet to be written. Obviously, he has a fair number of South Dakotans believing that it's a mere distraction--enough, anyway, to carry him to a likely victory by plurality next week. But he's told conflicting stories, along with mis-statements aplenty. Given that the FBI is "actively" investigating the matter, and given that Rounds' office was closely connected to the sizable (more than $100 million seems to be a commonly accepted and unchallenged estimate) ripoff of money that should have been South Dakota's, the federal investigation remains an unknown component of this story. Beyond that, there's the possibility that ethics reviews by the U.S. Senate itself may create some political and functional problems for Rounds. Tainted from the get-go, Rounds leaves much to be desired as our next Senator-elect. Most South Dakotans understand that, considering that if his plurality holds, 60% of us would rather have someone other than Mike Rounds representing us in the U. S. Senate.