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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jenna Haggar: Why the Secrecy? Admit You're Republican

Funny that DWC is trying to manufacture a kerfuffle over a candidate's "secrecy" about past jobs and political affiliation. An eager reader expresses analogous concerns about truth in advertising on Jenna Haggar's website. Haggar is the "Independent" running for District 15 State House and a darling of the big Republican blog. But on a number of points, Haggar seems to be operating independently from the complete truth about her political affiliation.

Haggar says she served in the Legislature in 2007 "as an advocate for the rights of unborn babies and end of life issues." Now "served in the Legislature" is usually reserved to describe folks who've been elected to that august institution. I suppose we might generously extend the term to pages, which Haggar appears to have done in 2004. But in 2007, Haggar was not a public servant. She was a registered private lobbyist for Right to Life SD. Not that there's anything wrong with being a lobbyist... but "served in the Legislature" seems an overly flattering description. The plain fact is that Haggar lobbied for a private and mostly Republican organization.

And that chiropractic clinic you work for... well, the connection is just too tempting not to ask: it wouldn't happen to be Dr. Allen Unruh's operation, would it? There is a really pretty brunette pictured on Dr. Unruh's site... oops! not quite Jenna.

Haggar says she also worked on a 2008 Senate campaign. Really? For which Independent Senate candidate was she working, Bernie Sanders? Ha. Haggar stumped for Republican Joel Dykstra, a candidate Haggar perhaps realizes she shouldn't mention among a Sioux Falls electorate somewhat less right-wing than herself.

And if Haggar is a true independent, why was she drumming up support at the Republican convention in Huron and not the Democratic convention in her current home city of Sioux Falls?

Let's be honest. I will make clear to everyone in my district that Clark Schmidtke is listed on the ballot as an Independent but is truly a Democrat. I will harp on Scott Heidepriem and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for emphasizing their use of Independent at the expense of not emphasizing Democrat and not leading the charge in making the case for our party's alignment with South Dakota values. I would ask Jenna Haggar to do the same: stand by your party affiliation. Tell the good people of District 15 you really are a Republican.


  1. Now wait a minute, Cory. Your post above suggests that we should take people at their word regarding their religion. Why doesn't this extend to party affiliation?

  2. Touché, Miranda! The difference may be this: Haggar's claims to Independent status appear to be a relatively new detour from previous documented political practice. There are also noticeable omissions in Haggar's public statements about her background, omissions at least remarkable as those Mr. Powers touts in his discussion of Ms. Buhl's public statements. I would back the question up to Mr. Powers and ask why Buhl's apparent secrecy matters but his candidate Haggar's does not.

    Ms. Haggar's avoidance of discussing her very clear Republican past is not even the same as Heidepriem's attitude toward his Republican past. He at least acknowledges that past directly and says he's changed his mind since then. Will Haggar do the same? Is she truly Independent now, or is she just running on the Independent ballot but prepared to join the Republican caucus in Pierre if elected?

  3. Wouldn't a true independent candidate have been at either both or none of the conventions.

    This is why I doubt the efforts of the "Tea Party". They say that they aren't for one side or the other; they just want to take the government back. But how many true independent or ("invisible man in the sky" forbid) democratic candidates have they backed. They seem to be backdoor republicans.

    By true independent I mean someone who sees values in both the republican and democratic platforms.

  4. The only reason she is running as an independent is because "Republican" is a dirty word in the district she is running in. By claiming to be an independent, she will get some votes from uninformed voters who would never vote for anyone with an "R' by their name. Clearly this is a strategic move, because there is no doubt that she is a Republican.

  5. My name is Darla Gross. Could it be that while she was "stumping" for Republicans, that it has more to do with being Pro-Life, for them and for herself and that she separates from Republicans on issues that are not her obvious central concern? By the way, the left-wing people in her district supposedly clearly outnumbered the Republicans. Perhaps, even some liberal people are beginning to recognize that pregnancy = baby and abortion = baby murder? Is that possible? Of course it is, ever hear of Democrats for Life? So why couldn't someone who disagrees with some of the Republican stuff and with some of the Democrat stuff consider herself to be an Independent??? I do!

  6. I'm having a hard time seeing abortion as a deciding factor in this election. Was abortion a major part of the campaign discussion in District 15? the only place I heard it raised was in the robocalls and deceptive negative mailings from Team Noem. The majority spoke pretty strongly in 2006 and 2008 that it didn't want Pierre deciding for women on this issue. Are you suggesting that Haggar will join the Republican/conservative majority to lead a fresh assault on women's reproductive rights?

    See above. Haggar was working the Republican convention. She received eager endorsement, positive press, and fundraising help from Dakota War College, the main Republican blog in the state. She's a Republican. Why she filed Indy remains open for debate.

  7. Jenna is registered as a Republican and I don't think she's ever tried to hide that fact. The reason she ran as an Independent is because by the time she decided to run she had missed the deadline to register as a Republican, and the only option was for her to run as an Independent.

    Rachel Hanson

  8. But Rachel, her website certainly hid that fact.


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