EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an installment of Campaign Roundup, a periodic feature in the Journal this election year.
Shantel Krebs, the current South Dakota secretary of state and a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. House, released a video endorsement Wednesday from Kris Kobach, the controversial Kansas secretary of state who is running for governor of Kansas.
Kobach was the vice chairman of President Donald Trump's now-disbanded commission on election fraud and is known as a leading national proponent of both stricter voter ID laws and a registry for people entering the United States from terrorist-prone countries (which some critics have labeled a “Muslim registry”).
Krebs heralded the Kobach endorsement in an email to her supporters.
“Kris and I share the belief that strong borders and secure elections are among the top priorities for the future success of our great nation,” Krebs said in the email.
Bjorkman proposes reforms
Saying that members of Congress spend too much time raising money for re-election and are too beholden to special-interest contributors, retired circuit court judge and Democratic U.S. House candidate Tim Bjorkman renewed his pledge to eschew contributions from political action committees and proposed these congressional reforms on his website recently:
• Enactment of a Congressional Term Limits Amendment.
• Ending the Congressional Dues System, in which members pay dues to their parties to serve on committees of their choice.
• Prohibiting members from raising money while Congress is in session.
• Requiring Congress to live by the same insurance coverage as the average American, by eliminating low-cost Capitol Hill medical services that the rest of America lacks.
• Prohibiting a member of Congress from employment, for five years after leaving office, in firms that employ lobbyists.
Johnson needs help
Dusty Johnson, a former public utilities commissioner who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. House, sent a mass email Thursday to his supporters seeking their help to gather the petition signatures he needs to earn a spot on the ballot.
“We have a little over two weeks before the deadline to submit signatures and we’re behind pace,” the email said.
Johnson needs to submit a total of 1,955 signatures from registered South Dakota Republican voters to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office by March 27.
Noem talks infrastructure
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, released a transportation and infrastructure plan Friday.
“South Dakota does a lot of things right, but with some smart infrastructure investments, strong partnerships, a larger skilled workforce, and the right leadership, we have a real opportunity when it comes to our transportation system,” Noem said in a news release about the plan.
Highlights of the plan include:
• Prioritizing road repairs. Noem said she will not raise taxes and will direct the South Dakota Department of Transportation to collaborate with local and county governments in prioritizing road repairs.
• Maximizing Bridge Improvement Grant resources. Noem said she would maintain full funding of the state’s Bridge Improvement Grant program and would work with counties and local governments to build greater efficiency.
• Enhancing railways to support farmers and grow the economy. Noem said she would make it a priority to compete for and win federal TIGER Grants for rail upgrades.
• Protecting small and regional airports. Noem said she would protect infrastructure investments for the aviation network and work to ensure the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol and the general aviation community continue to have access to the airports they need to operate.
• Equipping South Dakotans to fill good-paying infrastructure jobs. Noem said she would bolster the Governor’s Office of Economic Development investments in programs that build awareness of the industry’s career potential and aid in recruiting new talent; expand access to experience-driven technical training in high schools; and strengthen partnerships between state technical schools and employers to graduate 25 percent more apprentices by 2022.
• Keeping the regulatory burden low.
• Leveraging experience to maximize federal resources. More than half of South Dakota Department of Transportation funding is federal, said Noem, who touted her “unmatched experience” in tapping federal highway dollars.
Jackley and Trump
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, included a picture of himself shaking hands with President Donald Trump in a news release issued Wednesday by the Attorney General’s Office.
The release said that Trump and 41 states, plus two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, have pledged support of South Dakota’s court battle to force online retailers to pay state and local sales taxes.
Jackley will argue the case April 17 — less than two months before the primary election — at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackley speaks in Rapid City
Jackley was scheduled to speak Saturday night during the Cornerstone Celebrates event at the Rapid City Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn.
The event was a fundraiser for the Cornerstone Rescue Mission. A news release said Jackley planned to share his views on drug addiction.
Sutton calls for transparency
State Sen. Billie Sutton, D-Burke, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, sent an opinion article to newspapers Wednesday that he titled “Open, Honest, and Accessible Government Measures Still Needed.”
The article said a host of reform measures that Sutton proposed were rejected “by a system rigged in favor of the status quo, leaving loopholes for government mismanagement and a festering influence of money in politics.”
Sutton cited his proposal to retain government records longer, which was still pending last week, and he pledged to implement “a more robust records retention policy” if he is elected. Such a policy is needed, he said, “so if things go wrong we can look back and determine if taxpayer money was wasted or was spent wisely.”
Sutton also acknowledged errors discovered in his state Senate campaign committee that caused him to refund money received during previous elections from friends and neighbors’ accounts that were associated with an organization rather than their personal accounts.
“My state Senate committee fixed the error when it was discovered and reported it publicly without being asked because I am committed to honesty, integrity, and transparency,” Sutton said.
Following are some of the Black Hills-area candidates who recently filed the necessary number of petition signatures to earn a spot on the June 5 primary and Nov. 6 general election ballots. The deadline for many candidates to file petitions is March 27.
• Legislature: Troy Heinert, D-Mission, for state Senate in District 26; Zach VanWyk, D-Rapid City, for state Senate in District 34; Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, for state Senate in District 33; Bo Sistak, D-Rapid City, for state House in District 35; Elizabeth May, R-Kyle, for state House in District 27; Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, for state House in District 29.
• West Dakota Water Development District (nonpartisan): Thomas Mack, of Rapid City, for District 7 director; Ronald Koth, of Rapid City, for District 1 director.
• West River Water Development District (nonpartisan): Marion Matt, of Philip, for District 1 director.
• Pennington County: Deb Hadcock, R-Rapid City, for District 3 county commissioner; Kevin Thom, R-Rapid City, for sheriff.
• Butte County: James Ager, R-Belle Fourche, for county commissioner in District 1.
• Custer County: Mike Linde, R-Custer, for county commissioner at-large.
• Meade County: Richard Liggett, R-Piedmont, for county commissioner in District 5; Eddie Bulau, R-Vale, for county commissioner in District 1.
• Hill City School District (nonpartisan): Angela Ross, of Hill City, for school board.