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Friday, August 27, 2010

Noem Ditches Court Six Times, Earns Two Arrest Warrants

Yeah, now it's a story.

For the record, I have four fined vehicular infractions in my file:
  1. 1989: 94 on I-29 in Moody County. Went to court, paid $100.
  2. 1994: 70-some in Faulk County. $100.
  3. 1995: 74 on the Norwegian Boulevard in Lake County. $100.
  4. During this period, the Brookings P.D. also busted me for blowing the stop sign at 8th and Medary. On my bicycle. $20.
Kristi Noem, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, and I are all about the same age. SHS has one speeding ticket here on home turf and none in Washington, D.C. (a relatively tricky and dangerous place to drive).

Noem is the biggest lawbreaker on the ballot:

Noem has the longest list of violations, including 20 speeding tickets, three stop sign violations, two seat belt violations, and no driver's license. Noem also has six court notices for failure to appear and two arrest warrants.

...Noem's most recent speeding ticket was earlier this year when she was pulled over for driving 94 miles per hour on the interstate [Don Jorgenson, "Noem Not Proud of Driving Record," KELOLand.com, 2010.08.26].

I did 94 on the Interstate when I was a hotheaded 18-year-old, driving with my girlfriend in a fancy black Dodge pickup for the first time. That's not an excuse; that's an explanation of why I got more tickets then than I do now, when I have a wife, a child, and bills to pay.

Noem committed the same irresponsible crime this year, at the mature age of 38. Same county. Same speed... and what the hell: 21 years later, she gets a lower fine than I did?! $76?!?! Boy, I guess good hair does make a difference. [Update: Rapid City Journal reports Noem paid $130 in fine and court costs on February 19. My grumbling is soothed.]

I know Noem wants to beat Herseth Sandlin, but in her flagrant disregard for public safety and the law, Noem is trying a little too hard to be like the last person to beat Herseth Sandlin in an election, leadfoot Governor and convicted man-slaughterer Bill Janklow.

Noem whines that she's "disheartened we're spending time talking about my poor driving record when we could be talking about the economy and jobs." As am I: I wish the GOP candidate weren't a threat to public safety so we could concentrate on solving the nation's problems. But when a itting legislator and political candidate breaks the law so frequently and flagrantly, well, golly, that's news.

Noem mutters that "I'll continue to make sure being diligent and recognizing the fact that this obviously isn't something I'm proud of, something I need to improve." Sure. It's something you need to improve. You do that by taking your damn foot off the gas. You do that by showing up for court when the law tells you. It's not that hard. And there's certainly no excuse.
Update 13:15 CDT: Bob Mercer, whom I think I can safely say is at least not a left-leaning journalist, says Noem is a "habitual lawbreaker" and says short of Noem renouncing her driving privileges for the rest of her political career, this race may have just tilted back to Herseth Sandlin, "perhaps deservedly so." Jordan Fabian at The Hill also says Noem's traffic violations could be a game-changer.


  1. Wow! It's only August. Makes you wonder what other skeletons will come out of the closet as we get close to election day?

  2. Hey Mr. H,
    This is really interesting. My mind immediately went to Janklow before I read your comment about him. I agree that we should judge a person's true character before election and that includes whether or not the aforementioned follows the law. This was eye opening, however I don't think you can judge how a person will act in congress by how they drive. Let's look at Ted Kennedy. C'mon, he killed his mistress by driving his car off a bridge. Did he make a good legislator? No doubt that he did. I really don't think you can compare the impacts of what she's done (skipped court and sped a lot) to what he's done (killed his mistress...). The links just aren't there for me I guess.
    Thanks for the post!
    Stacy Burkhalter

  3. It's time the Democrats grow a spine, take the gloves off, and stop trying to take the high road and get down and dirty. Bring on the skeletons!

  4. Nice to hear from you, Stacy!

    You won't catch me making excuses for Kennedy. He killed a woman with his recklessness. He deserved worse punishment. He also thought No Child Left Behind was good legislation, so I'm open to debate on how good a legislator he was.

    But the point with Noem is we see a pattern of habitual lawbreaking, right up to this year, during the Legislative session. No, she hasn't killed anyone. Janklow didn't kill anyone with his reckless driving until he was in his 60s in Congress. But how many times did Janklow fail to appear in court when summmoned? How many arrest warrants were issued for him?

    I thought maybe this story would be a blip, but I'm hearing more about the "respect for the law" angle that makes me think this is worth more coverage than I originally suspected.

    Scott, I hate to throw punches... but maybe that's what it takes.

  5. Yep Cory, I remember getting pulled over with you! The cop asked if you were in some kind of reenactment I believe, I think we were on our way to Brookings. We were so cool with our leather coats and your black hat! Awesome memories, brings a smile to my face.


  6. She still speaks to me, 21 years after I endangered her life for no good reason. We were all young and crazy!

  7. You know, I came back from MN today and probably broke speed limits a "few" times. If you are the one person in a million who never drives over the speed limit, then you have a right to bitch about this. If you are like the rest of us who usually speed on SD's backroads and MN's slow roads and haven't been picked up, then count yourself lucky. I'm not talking about 30 miles over the limits, I'm talking about just even five which will also get you picked up if the police are in the right mood. Now let's get back to the issues that matter in this campaign. If this is all Stephanie can drag up out of an opponent's past, then it's pretty pathetic.

    And no, if asked, I don't condone speeding either, but I'm honest enough to say I'm not going to make this a campaign issue for Noem or Heidepriem or anyone else when I am guilty of the same crime, and probably 99% of the readers here are too.


  8. So Linda, how many times did you fail to appear in court? How many arrest warrants did you get on your way home?

  9. Cory, desperate politicians make desperate plays, and this is desperate. I want to discuss issues. Why doesn't Stephanie???

  10. Still waiting for how many arrest warrants you have, Linda. Come up for air from Dakota War College: who says facts from court records are a desperate campaign ploy? Has anyone offered any evidence that this information came from the SHS campaign? KELO reported it, half-buried in the 10 p.m. report. What's desperate about a news organization reporting a candidate's failure to appear in court and arrest warrants?


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