Trump Toady or Independent Thinker?
My guess is that Krebs will be quick to reject the notion that she'd be a rubber stamp for the White House. I mean, who on earth would go on record as being a toady? But by doing so she would be repudiating her "all in" commitment to the President. Her website provides a nice bio and platitudes along the lines of making Washington "responsive" to the needs of our state, but doesn't touch specifics. So what is it, Ms. Krebs, are you all in with Trump or are you willing to consider issues on their merits and make decisions based on what you think is best for South Dakota?
Dusty Johnson, whom I've met and like, is also running a campaign that's long on self-promotion and short on policy substance. He says he's running for Congress because he's an "optimist." That's about as good a reason as any, I suppose, but given his background as a Commissioner on South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission, I'd expect him to say much about national energy policy and how it would affect South Dakota. For example, last week's repeal of the "Clean Power Plan" by the Trump administration could have significant effects on ethanol production, which depends on South Dakota's largest crop, corn, as its feedstock. Does Johnson have a position on this? I did find a comment about healthcare in the Rapid City Journal last July--Johnson thinks more control should go to the states, a not terribly earth-shaking position by a Republican. He could have given us a clue about how he stands on the measures to achieve that end
Optimist, But What About Policy?
That programmatic response on healthcare is probably a signal that Johnson will do as expected by the GOP, but considering his long-standing status as both an appointed and elected official, I'd love to know more. In particular, given his experience as a state government insider, his opinion of how South Dakota could successfully run a federally funded program after our state's abysmal track record with EB-5 and Gear Up needs some explanation.
As with Shantel Krebs, Dusty Johnson is politically pragmatic enough to know that avoiding serious policy commitments is a way to stay out of trouble on the campaign trail. But given what seem to be equal measures of affability, experience and media appeal, it would be nice if they could find a way to differentiate themselves on the basis of something other than gender.