I think Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's November total just ticked up five points.
"Noem and Curd Congressional Campaigns Come Together," toots Dakota War College. That's about as accurate as saying the U.S. Army and Saddam's Republican Guard have come together. There is no Curd campaign. Noem kicked its butt. All that's happening is that Joshua Shields, Curd's newly unemployed campaign manager (and the kind of career political operative Curd was reviling as he attacked Chris Nelson's honorable public service), has landed the next best available job for his skills... managing Kristi Noem's campaign.
Now usually, I don't pay attention to the campaign staff news. But this job move has me wondering....
Suppose you win a statewide primary. You don't just win it; you score an upset. You beat a popular and decent Secretary of State and a wealthy and smart doctor. You have momentum (let's call it Noementum!). Everyone's excited. What do you do to keep your edge?
My first ten answers do not include, "Replace your successful campaign manager with the guy who used twice as much campaign money to put his guy in a bowling shirt and engineer a 23% last-place finish."
Maybe Noem's previous manager, Lee Brown, had to leave. Maybe other obligations or some unforeseen circumstance came up. That's fine. And at least Noem is making the change early so the new guy can be up to speed when Denny and everyone else get back from the lake.
Now let's be clear: I know neither Brown nor Shields (heck, I haven't even met Noem yet—just can't bring myself to sit through another 9-12 Project meeting). I write this not to contradict the nice commenters at Dakota War College who assert that Josh is a nice guy. I have no reason to doubt that he is a nice guy. This is nothing personal.
But the primary election and Lee Brown's résumé give me reasons to think the Noem campaign just lost an asset with deep experience in South Dakota politics and replaced it with a discernibly less valuable asset.
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