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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Yes, Ben Arndt Is a Dem. What Are You Republicans Afraid Of?

South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scott Heidepriem sets the record straight on why his running mate, Ben Arndt, switched his registration yesterday from Republican to Democrat. No, it wasn't the law. Heidepriem and Arndt were happy and ready to offer South Dakotans the chance to vote for a bipartisan ticket for governor and lieutenant governor. But at 4:45 p.m. yesterday, the Republicans (I haven't gotten clear on which ones—Nelson? a litigious party chair?*) made clear they would block the certification of the Heidepriem/Arndt ticket based on Arndt's status as a registered Republican.

Now you can bet that Heidepriem scrutinized the law in much greater detail than I ever will. Heidepriem was confident that if the Republicans tried to stop the Heidepriem/Arndt ticket in court, the Dems would win and the Arndt nomination would stand. There is no law preventing us Democrats from nominating a Republican or an Independent or any other citizen who meets the legal qualifications for office.

But check it out: the Democrats and Ben Arndt just spared us taxpayers another unnecessary lawsuit. Ben Arndt said, no problem, I'll re-register.

As Jim Abourezk said this morning, "Ben Arndt didn't leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left him."

And as Scott Heidepriem noted this morning, if the Republicans are willing to break out the legal trickery and obstruction already just to challenge our lieutenant governor candidate, they must really not like Ben Arndt... or what he brings to Team Heidepriem. "There's something about this guy that has the Republicans scared to death," says Scott.

Ah, I love the smell of Republican fear in the morning.

*Update 2010.06.27 08:22 CDT: Let's clarify: Team Heidepriem checked with two lawyers before announcing Arndt's addition to the ticket a month ago. They found no law or party rule under which Arndt's candidacy could be challenged. They checked with the Secretary of State's office, which said it saw no legal problem with certifying a mixed ticket. At 4:45 p.m. Friday, a tipster contacted the campaign, let them know the Republican chicanery afoot, and informed them that the Secretary of State had changed his position to say the law on this matter is not clear.


  1. C'mon CAH, after a weekend of Republican jokes how would the crowd react with Heidepriem bringing to the altar his mate - a Republican?

  2. Fear? Nope. Sorry buddy, that nice smell is the cologne my wife bought me. Tis always a good day when a RINO returns to the herd that they wandered from...

  3. The good news is that both candidates spent the majority of their political lives as Republicans, the foundation of their views and votes. Both have now moved to the party of "convenience" and I'm sure there is no fear, rather a view that rules must be followed. South Dakota is not Chicago.

  4. Chicago? Chicago?! It's the Republicans threatening to play games and twist the law. The Democrats did their homework, had the law on their side (come on: Team Heidepriem checked with Secretary Nelson and double-checked with lawyers before picking Arndt), and simply chose to save the taxpayers money by avoiding an unnecessary court battle.

    Thad, I was thinking along your lines. I was ready to temper my appaluse and grill Arndt over his loyalty to our party's values. But after they announced the switch, folks saw that the move reinforced Team Heidepriem's message that formal party affiliation is less important than solving the state's problems.

    Stace, we're happy to take every RINO who realizes the "R" no longer stands for what they thought it did. Send 'em all over!

  5. @GoldMan I agree with you in the latter part; however, in the former I do not. If they had such a foundation they would not have changed parties to begin with. Your tail end assessment is spot on.

    @Cory The thing that I respect about you IS that you are usually fanatically loyal to your beliefs. While I may disagree with them, I respect your devotion to them. You are reliable in that sense; however, I find that you are now allowing your morale compass to spin in what smacks of desperation. I do sympathize with your current quandary of having to support two wind vane candidates whose only ideological anchors are that of their own political aspirations...

  6. My "morale" compass has been pointing south ever since South Dakota decided to vote for John Thune.

  7. Stace : Would you also use the same description for Ronald Reagan , who was a Dem and a supporter of FDR and the new deal, and then switched parties.He was a DINO for more than 10 years.How long were these two candidates RINOs? Do you really have such insight into other peoples motivations for switching?


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