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Friday, May 28, 2010

Campaign Finance: Curd Arrogant, Kirby and Kurtenbach Conflicted, Noem Broke

Dr. R. Blake Curd is pouring $42,000 of his own money into his U.S. House campaign fund. Of course, it's not just any old money; it's his "hard-earned money," says campaign mouthpiece Joshua Shields. Really, do we really have to engage in this "I worked harder than you for my money" contest? Doesn't everyone work hard?

Curd is also cloaking his big self-donation in noble language about children (hey, I thought that was only a liberal Dem tactic!):

It's important that people understand that I'm serious about this election.... I can't think of any better thing to invest your money in than my children and the children of South Dakota, and that's exactly why I've invested some of my own personal money in our children's future [R. Blake Curd, in Ledyard King, "In Money Race, Curd Piles up Lead," that Sioux Falls paper, 2010.05.28].

Give me a break, R. Blake. You're not investing in our children. You're buying more dorky bowling ads and billboards and paying consultants to craft propaganda so you can win a political job, just like the other candidates. And I find it a little offensive (as I suspect does Chris Nelson, whom you are not-so-subtly poking here for his campaign-on-the-cheap) that you believe people are only serious about issues if they spend money. That's the free-market fundamentalist mindset run rampant. The fact that you are richer than Chris Nelson doesn't make you more serious about policy or about helping South Dakota.

Curd's cash-in gets me reviewing the campaign finance records. Some notes of interest:
  • Among R. Blake's backers are a whole bunch of doctors... and fellow wealthy South Dakota Republican Steve Kirby. Kirby and his wife Suzie maxed out for Curd right around Christmas. Ho ho ho.
  • Kristi Noem has Wall Drug power: Ted Hustead is her treasurer.
  • The Kirbys also kicked in $1500 each for Noem when she announced in February.
  • Daktronics mastermind Al Kurtenbach gave both Nelson and Curd $250.
  • Also conflicted: South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. Jackley PAC has given $500 to Curd and $500 to Nelson. Marty apparently can't figure out which candidate he backs any more clearly than he can figure out which argument to run in court.
  • As of last week, the Noem campaign was broke: $43,152 cash on hand, but $48,537 in debt. Maybe next time she'll hire Team Munsterman to shoot her ads locally instead of jetting to Texas.


  1. Nice distisms, Mr. Heidelberger. Kick some cracker butt!

  2. The election looks like it may be up for grabs as new survey results show 82% feel incumbents should not be re-elected. Wonder how that will shake out in South Dakota? The Rassumussen Reports has the survey data.

  3. Thanks, Larry! Now what's a distism?

    Good question, Rod. Could you send a link so I know which numbers to tackle? I found this Feb survey that finds "82% of Republicans and 74% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe an electoral loss by most congressional incumbents would be better for the country." It's hard to say how a number like that translates into results in any specific state, since the question reflects the classic disparity between people saying, "Congress is a bunch of bums!" and in the next breath, "My Congressman is great!"

    The challenge to SHS comes not from anti-incumbent sentiment but anti-Steph sentiment. Thune's high numbers and lack of challenger show there's no great swell of anti-incumbent feeling in South Dakota. Even more so locally: no challenger for Russ Olson yet? No one but Stricherz challenging Mitch and Gerry?

    The anti-incumbent sentiment also doesn't help us figure out the GOP primary, since all three are current office-holding politicians, insiders all compared to you and me and everyone but Jerry Prostrollo at the local Tea Party/Glenn Beck club. On the gube side, Knudson and Heidepriem both have tried tarring Daugaard with the incumbent feathers, but it's hard to make that stick coming from two Senate party leaders. Howie's a sitting Senator, an outsider only by dint of being a nut. Munsterman and Knuppe have the best claim to being outsiders, but they haven't gained visible traction. Maybe South Dakota voters are just a bunch of tight-lipped Nordic folk and will surprise us on June 8, but I haven't yet heard any great rumble of really throwing out the establishment and replacing them with clear outsiders. Go

  4. Cory,

    I'm having trouble finding the "notes of interest." You listed active GOP donors who generously participate in elections out of a desire for good government.

  5. Noem broke. So what? I can hardly wait to see her take on SHS. Moneyed elitist vs. tough rancher. Could be Adlai Stevenson vs. John Wayne if they were guys a few years ago ...

  6. Stan: Adlai vs. Duke would have been a great match-up. Adlai could have held his own!

    Troy: suppose I'm at Perkins. I see you order two full meals. I'm interested. I'll probably ask, "You gonna eat both of those?"

    Explain to me how donating to two candidates for the same office, at least one of whom (and maybe both!) will lose, contributes to good government.

    Prominent folks endorsing a specific candidate with cash. if that's not interesting, I don't know what is. If I were the candidate receiving that cash, I'd want everyone to find that endorsement interesting. If I were a Republican and I saw a prominent mainstream republican like Kirby maxed out on Curd, I'd be interested: "Wow, maybe Curd isn't a total yahoo if he can get Kirby money. Maybe I'll think about voting for him."

    So what did I miss here on interest level, Troy?

  7. I agree that there isn't much anti-incumbent feeling for Stephanie's position or John Thune, but when you hear people talk, they really express sentiment that mirrors the survey results. Whether words turn into actions is yet to be seen this fall, and many things can change between now and November. In the words of "Dancing With The Stars", John Thune is "safe".


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