So why did Pastor Hickey bail after just a week? Here are my top ten wild speculations:
10Campaign advisors insisted Hickey would have to shave, just like the other two men in the race. A man of principle, Pastor Hickey said it wasn't worth it. Update 09:33 CST: Hickey confirms (sort of)!
9Hickey's only chance to get traction was to make a big media splash with his announcement. Noem sucked all of the air out of that balloon by announcing on the same day.
8Hickey's only chance to get traction was with a snappy campaign slogan. "Give Congress a Hickey" had real promise... but then he heard Kristi would one-up him with, "Don't Just Say No; Say Noem!"
7Pastor Hickey realized a U.S. House campaign would have him on the road and away from his congregation too much. He decided to stick with a District 9 campaign that will let him stick with his first calling.
6Hickey realized his abortion agenda would get him nowhere. South Dakota has managed to get through a legislative session without floating a single abortion bill. More importantly, the CPAC straw poll showed that even the hardcore conservatives don't see the anti-abortion crusade as a priority.
5The Republican Party establishment has an iron grip on its nomination process. It will not allow independents into an open primary, and it by no means will allow a party outsider like Hickey to challenge established politicians like Noem, Curd, and Nelson.
4There's a Tea Party schism afoot. Hickey entered the race to challenge Tea Party faker Curd. When Noem entered the race, Hickey decided he could advance the conservative agenda better by running for state office himself and hitching his star to a more photogenic conservative.
3Hickey was just trying to save Steve Sibson's soul by distracting Sibby from his obsession with me and giving him a faithful theocrat to rapturously endorse. When Sibby said nothing about Hickey and instead went to Pierre to reveal he's turned into a nanny-stater, Hickey was crushed.
2Noem promised, if elected, to get Hickey on the roster to give the invocation at the U.S. House.
1Hickey took the advice I've given to some of my Glenn Beck-lovin' neighbors to focus on making changes at the state and local levels rather than in a Congress controlled by huge moneyed interests that a bunch of folks in tri-cornered hats aren't sufficiently organized to fight. Change starts in your backyard.