Visualizing U.S. Senate fundraising

People who have followed fundraising totals in South Dakota’s U.S. Senate race know the basic facts: Mike Rounds has raised by far the most, Nelson and Rhoden have raised the least, Weiland has been steady but unimpressive, and Bosworth has raised a lot of money from nationwide donors in unusual circumstances.

But here’s a way to visualize that fundraising at a glance. I used a tool called a heat map, which represents the density of points on a table, to map the cities the five candidates have raised money from. (This isn’t counting unitemized donations.)

Here, for example, is Stace Nelson's fundraising heat map:


(Larger interactive version) You can see Nelson has raised almost all his money in South Dakota, in a series of scattered clumps — not too much money in any one place. He also has a big clump in the Mitchell area, Nelson’s back yard. 

Contrast that with Larry Rhoden's fundraising:


(Larger interactive version) Rhoden has a lot less support in eastern South Dakota, but dominates West River. Rhoden also has a teensy bit more nationwide support, but nothing significant.

Annette Bosworth, on the other hand:


(Larger interactive version) South Dakota is almost barren. Bosworth has raised a lot more money than Rhoden and Nelson, but far less in South Dakota. Instead, Bosworth’s map is dotted with yellow, reflecting a lot of scattered fundraisign around the country, but few real concentrations. She does have a disproportionate amount from Florida and the eastern seaboard, as well as the metro areas Denver and Chicago. All this fits with Bosworth’s direct mail-based approach of targeting conservative donors — often retired — around the country.

Here’s Rick Weiland:


(Larger interactive version) Weiland has a broad national base of support, as well as a fair amount of donations from South Dakota. He’s not as concentrated in a few South Dakota cities as Rhoden and Nelson are, but significant portions of the map are covered with yellow and red. Weiland also has a big cluster in Washington, D.C. — despite his lack of support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — and is strong in Boston and San Francisco.

Finally, there’s Mike Rounds:


(Larger interactive version) Rounds has raised a lot more money than anyone, and that’s reflected on the map. He’s collected money from a huge swathe of South Dakota, with a particular concentration in the Sioux Falls area. Rounds has also taken in a lot of money in the nation’s big cities: D.C. (but less prominently than Weiland), Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

Jason Ravnsborg and Larry Pressler have yet to report any significant fundraising.

Here’s all the interactive links in one place:

Daugaard on the anti-gay rights bills

On Friday, while talking to Gov. Dennis Daugaard about the state budget, I also asked him about the collection of bills this year that would have allowed people to refuse service to people on the basis of sexual orientation.

"Most of them were solving problems we haven’t seen here," Daugaard said. "More legislation driven by things that are occurring in other places. I guess I don’t see those problems here in South Dakota that the legislation attempted to address."

I asked him about criticism by some that those laws were “mean-spirited” or “hateful.” Daugaard demurred.

"I don’t know that I could characterize the motivations of anybody who introduces legislation," Daugaard said.

It was, as far as I know, the first time the governor had commented on the bills, which all got shot down in their first committee hearing here in South Dakota — unlike other states, such as Arizona, where similar legislation came very close to becoming law.

Daugaard was also much more restrained than his lieutenant governor, Matt Michels, who condemned the bills in February.

"There’s no place in our laws for these kind of words," Michels said, adding that he believes most South Dakotans agree. "There’s too much hate in the world and we don’t need it here (in South Dakota)."

Daugaard makes ballot for officially nonexistent reelection campaign

Gov. Dennis Daugaard was certified as a candidate for governor this afternoon, after Secretary of State Jason Gant validated Daugaard’s nominating petitions

Of course, Daugaard hasn’t technically announced that he’ll be running for a second term.

That announcement will come next week, Daugaard said in an email to supporters from his campaign organization.

The governor’s plans haven’t been any secret. Daugaard had more than $1,000,000 in the bank at the end of 2013 and has already shot campaign commercials. But he’s declined to officially announce his reelection bid until the end of this year’s legislative session.

Daugaard faces one declared challenger for the Republican nomination, Lora Hubbel. Two Democrats have announced campaigns for their party’s nomination: Joe Lowe and Susan Wismer. One member of the Constitution Party, Curtis Strong, has also declared his intentions to run, as has an independent, Mike Myers.

None of those four have yet turned in petitions to qualify for the ballot. The deadline is Tuesday, March 25.

'Building a Better Sioux Falls' mailers: When I returned home from the Legislature this weekend, among my stack of mail were these three mailers in favor of the new south-side Walmart, which is on the ballot in Sioux Falls on April 8. Most interesting is the top image (which I modified by rotating several of the sections that would ordinarily be upside down), which included a survey.

If you’re getting election postcards at home, I’d like to see them! You can email them to dmontgomery (at) argusleader (dot) com, or mail them to the Argus Leader c/o David Montgomery. I’ll black out all addresses before posting them, as I did for these.

Rounds files nominating petitions

Gov. Mike Rounds became the fourth U.S. Senate candidate to file his nominating petitions this cycle today, according to his campaign.

Rounds filed more than 7,000 signatures, well over the 1,955 signatures a Republican needs to make the ballot for a statewide office.

Republican state Rep. Stace Nelson was the first Senate candidate to fill petitions, followed by Republican state Sen. Larry Rhoden. Both of their petitions have been approved by Secretary of State Jason Gant, as have those of independent candidate Larry Pressler.

Democrat Rick Weiland and Republicans Annette Bosworth and Jason Ravnsborg, among announced candidates, have yet to file their petitions.

Weiland needs 1,221 valid signatures to make the ballot.

Typically candidates turn in a number of extra signatures as a buffer against some signatures being ruled invalid.

Under the radar, Rep. Kristi Noem has also filed her petitions for reelection. Gant approved them on Friday.

Noem’s Democratic opponent, Corinna Robinson, will be filing her petitions today.

Candidates have until next Tuesday, March 25, to turn in their petitions.

Lawmakers back $2.2M extra for education

South Dakota teachers will get an average of around $220 more next year after a legislative committee approved $2.2 million more for education.

The change means schools will get a 3.35 percent increase over last year. That’s higher than the 3 percent boost originally proposed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

It’s an extra $16.72 per student, and will raise the state per-student allocation to $4,781.14.

Lawmakers will write a “letter of intent” instructing schools to use this extra money on teacher pay, and not other priorities.

Schools had asked for an increase to $4,804.60 — the funding schools had before Daugaard’s 2011 budget cuts. Several years of increases have yet to return schools to that original level.

Sen. Billie Sutton, D-Burke, said the extra money was welcome but said Republicans seemed to lack a goal for resolving South Dakota’s teacher pay shortfall — the lowest in the country.

"If there’s not a plan in place to get us to a certain level… I’m not sure what it is we’re trying to accomplish," Sutton said.

Rep. Fred Romkema, R-Spearfish, said lawmakers gave schools as much money as the state had left over.

"The target this year was $4,804 for the public schools. We almost split the difference," Romkema said. "We only have so much money to spend, and I think we made a good faith effort here to get halfway there. I think we should be commended for that, and not leave here with some guilty feelings."

The comments reflect a philosophical dispute about budgeting process. Here’s what I surmise from observing the budget process for a number of years: Generally speaking, Democrats would say school funding is their top priority, fund it at the level needed, and then build the rest of the budget around that priority. Republicans look at school funding as just one of a number of priorities in a complicated budget, not one that necessarily gets primacy. That means lawmakers determine how much money is available and then allocate a portion to schools, rather than determining how much money schools need first and allocating the rest of the money to other areas.

This year’s budget amendments

At some point today or tomorrow — hopefully today — the Joint Appropriations Committee will take up the proposed amendments to the general budget.

I’ve put together an interactive spreadsheet for people (including myself) to follow along with the Joint Appropriations Committee hearing. Take a look at it here.

The description of each amendment is hyperlinked to a PDF of the amendment’s full text, which you can click through for more information.

As each amendment is acted on, I’ll update the first column. That will automatically update the two sums on the top of the graph, showing the net change from all adopted amendments to both the state general fund and to the total budget.

Enjoy! I’ll have more updates on some of these proposals throughout the day.


Tags: budget

Reps. Dan Dryden, Fred Romkema, Lance Carson and Don Haggar (rear) talk with Sens. Jim White and Alan Solano during a break in the Joint Appropriations hearing Friday.

Reps. Dan Dryden, Fred Romkema, Lance Carson and Don Haggar (rear) talk with Sens. Jim White and Alan Solano during a break in the Joint Appropriations hearing Friday.

Happy Pi Day

Is it purely a coincidence that South Dakota lawmakers are adopting their budget on a day dedicated to a never-ending irrational number?

South Dakota budget commissioner Jason Dilges describes where things stand with the state’s budget heading into the final day of the legislative session.

Tags: Jason Dilges

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