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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blog Poll: Bartling Outpolls Barnett... and a Dems' Quandary

The latest Madville Times poll asked, "Who gets your vote for South Dakota auditor?" You, dear readers, gave Democrat Julie Bartling the nod:

Julie Bartling
74 (56%)
Steve Barnett
57 (44%)
Votes: 131

Not bad, although given the standard Madville Times bias and barn-sized margin of error, Bartling should keep shaking hands and kissing babies...

...which brings me to my quandary. Julie Bartling is notorious among South Dakota Dems for her work on the 2005 abortion task force and her primary sponsorship of the 2006 abortion ban. Bartling has since disavowed her 2006 legislation (which failed to pass muster with voters on referral that year). But some Dems don't like Bartling's politics on reproductive rights and may thus withhold their vote from her for state auditor.

When I first heard this Dem complaint, I thought, What's the fuss? She'll have a lot less opportunity to advance the Hunt/Unruh Handmaid's Tale agenda from the auditor's office than from the Senate chamber. Bartling will be a good state auditor. Her quals—18 years as Gregory County auditor—beat the pants off the other guy. Besides, we need every Dem we can get in state office so we can build a stronger bench of candidates for future races.

Yet I'm still considering my own protest vote against a down-ticket Dem over a similar hot-button political disagreement. Doyle Karpen wants to replace Dusty Johnson on the Public Utilities Commission. Doyle Karpen is a good Democrat with lots of good public service experience. But Doyle Karpen also thinks the Hyperion refinery would be "fantastic" for South Dakota and was instrumental as Union County Commissioner in opening the door for those Texas oil men to tear up a lot of good farmland and keep us addicted to fossil fuels. And a Public Utilities Commissioner has a little more say over other big dirty oil projects than an auditor does over abortion legislation.

But if I tell Dems to drop their political grudges and vote for Bartling, can they not bounce the same argument back to tell me to vote for Karpen?

I have some thinking to do over the next four weeks. Your thoughts, dear readers, are welcome in that process.

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