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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fargen, Nesselhuf Run for State Dem Chair

I told you Mitch Fargen was a pol to watch. He won every precinct in Lake County last week against a hard Republican tide. He won re-election to his District 8 State House seat. Now he wants to be chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party. His press release:

November 11, 2010- Mitch Fargen, Democratic State Representative in District 8, has announced that he will run for the position of Chair with the South Dakota Democratic Party. Fargen is a Flandreau native and recently elected to a second term in the State Legislature. Over the past year he has been in charge of fundraising, training and recruiting for the Democratic candidates for the Democrat Caucuses.

Fargen said his reason for running is that, “This November’s election really shocked a lot of us in South Dakota and it got a lot of people thinking about what we need to do for the future of the Democrat Party and for the State of South Dakota. Because of this I have talked to many people across the state and I am focused on moving the party forward.” Fargen added, “We need to ensure our Legislators in Pierre have the support they need, we need to continue to build the party from the County and Legislative District levels, and we need to ensure we have the financial resources to compete. I have the track record and leadership to do just that.”

The election for State Chair and the other state officers are December 4 in Oacoma.

This announcement comes just a fwe hours after Ben Nesselhuf's announcement that he's seeking the chair as well. Now there's a great choice: both Fargen and Nesselhuf are proven leaders, good campaigners, and outstanding fundraisers. Emphasize that latter point: over the past year, the state GOP outraised us South Dakota Dems nearly 6 to 1. Job #1 for the new chair: raise money!

By the numbers: for this year's District 8 House race, covering a four-county area, Fargen raised about $22,500 (as of Oct. 21). He was able to donate about half of that to the statewide Majority Project. For the statewide Secratary of State's race, Nesselhuf's pre-general report receipts were about $150,000. (Update 22:20 CST: My friend Mr. Price reminds us Nesselhuf's total haul was over $200K, a Dem record for statewide constitutinoal office.) He had enough to reimburse the state party $10,500 for in-kind services. He also got $34,000 from the Majority Project, which he headed in 2008.

Who needs D-1 football: we've got a great SDSU-USD rivalry right here in the political arena! Let's get ready to rumble!

Update 20:33 CST: Current SDDP chair Cheryl Chapman says so long and thanks for the fish: in an e-mail to party members this evening, Chapman says she will not seek election to a full term as state party chair. (Chapman took over to serve the remainder of Jack Billion's term when he stepped aside in 2009.) Chapman praises exec Erin McCarrick and staff Cathy Avery and Kevin Killer. She also sees good grassroots base-building already taking place for 2012.

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