Regular readers will find no surprises here. For the record, here are the people who will get my vote on Tuesday:
Lake County Commission: Craig Johannsen, Chris Giles, and Dan Bohl. Johannsen has served well on the commission and deserves to continue his good work. Giles and Bohl are the best communicators of the bunch, certainly better than their fellow Republican Roger Hageman, and local government requires people who can communicate. Giles and Bohl also bring good experience and good sense to the table, so they make my list as the only Republicans who will get my vote this year. I might have voted the straight Dem ticket, but Gene Anderson's DUI arrest has embarrassed the party and demonstrated a profound lack of common sense.
District 8 House: Mitch Fargen and Gerry Lange. Fargen and Lange complement each other well: youth and energy, experience and wisdom. They have strong connections to agriculture that GOP candidates Jerry Johnson and Patricia Stricherz lack. Johnson has shown little enthusiasm for the job; Stricherz has not shown a full understanding of the job. Johnson and Stricherz appear more likely to just do what the party leaders tell them to do rather than vigorously and proactively representing the interests of District 8. Fargen and Lange both have shown more clear vision for the changes South Dakota needs.
District 8 Senate: Scott Parsley. Parsley has a better grasp of a wider range of issues. He works in energy and has been involved in wind power development from its beginnings in South Dakota. His wife is a long-time educator. Parsley helped create the American Coalition for Ethanol and our local Habitat for Humanity chapter. GOP opponent Russell Olson is a beneficiary of Republican patronage and big money. Olson also bases far too much of his campaign on specious claims (e.g., touting his role as one of 74 co-sponsors HB 1123, a toothless exercise in paperwork, as evidence of real achievements on alternative energy; using "local control" and patently false interpretations of demographics to dodge taking responsibility for properly funding education). Olson says stuff; Parsley does stuff. Pick actions over words: pick Parsley.
Public Utilities Commission: Matt McLarty. I know, I haven't paid any more attention to this race than you have. But I still have a burr under my saddle over the PUC's dealings with TransCanada. The PUC could have done more to protect South Dakotans against the encroachment of a foriegn oil company on our sovereignty. If I had the chance, I'd advocate throwing all three out. As it is, we only get to pick 'em off one at a time. Fair enough. Toss Gary Hanson out this year, see if the PUC gets the message.
U.S. House of Representatives: Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin. Now is not the time to send another Chamber of Commerce Republican to represent South Dakota in the midst of a Democratic Congress. Now is also not the time to give more power to people who think health insurance is about confidence, not affordability (see Chris Lien's SDPB debate), or who think abortion bans like IM11 actually constitute good public policy.
U.S. Senate: Tim Johnson. I'm still torqued at the Johnson campaign's stalking and smear tactics in March and subsequent attacks on local Dems for questioning those tactics. They didn't need to go there to beat the feckless Joel Dykstra campaign. But is that enough to make me put South Dakota over a barrel by sending another impotent fundagelical Republican to sit in the Senate and do nothing while the Democrats clean up President Bush's mess? I think not. Johnson has shown he can do the job even while recovering from a stroke, and he's only getting better.
U.S. President: Barack Obama. Hope. Change. Citizen engagement. A competent Vice-President. Real family values. Jim Dobson nowhere near the White House. Google for Government. Restoring America's image. Respect for women. History. A campaign built on reality, not Newspeak. Image and substance. Colin Powell said it best: Barack Obama is a transformational figure... and America and her politics need some serious transformation.
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