Bosworth’s big names

Sioux Falls physician and potential U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth has never run for political office, but yesterday she told the press some political heavy-hitters have encouraged her to run.

To KELO, Bosworth said U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn — himself a medical doctor who made the leap to politics — is “one of her mentors in considering a run.”

Bosworth didn’t mention Coburn to me in my interview, but she did talk about another person she said encouraged her to enter politics: former Gov. Bill Janklow.

"The idea actually was first introduced to me over three years ago by Bill Janklow," Bosworth said. "He was my good friend and many times said, you’ve got a lot of great ideas for how health care and our community could be served better. He was the first person to plant the idea."

At the time, Bosworth said she demurred. “I said no, Bill. You did politics. I’m meant to be a doctor.”

Janklow died in January 2012. By the time U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson announced his retirement this March, Bosworth said she had come most of the way around to running.

Vern Larson, making history

Newly appointed public lands commissioner Vern Larson had already made a mark as the longest-serving constitutional officer in state history, with 24 years as auditor and eight as treasurer after getting term limited.

Now he’s poised to enter the South Dakota political history books again this August when he replaces Jarrod Johnson at School and Public Lands.

He’ll be the first person ever to serve as three different South Daktoa constitutional officers in his lifetime.

According to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s adviser Tony Venhuizen’s historical research, no one before Larson will have served as more than two constitutional officers — which are defined as the statewide elected offices created in the state constitution, or governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and commissioner of school and public lands.

(It doesn’t include U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislators or the public utilities commission; the first two are federal offices, the third is not statewide and the fourth was created by statute.)

Larson won’t be the first person to serve in three different statewide offices. Four different men have done that, though all involved at least one federal office:

  • Bill Janklow (attorney general, governor, U.S. House)
  • Peter Norbeck (lieutenant governor, governor, U.S. Senate)
  • William McMaster (lieutenant governor, governor, U.S. Senate)
  • Coe Crawford (attorney general, governor, U.S. Senate)

Jim Abdnor comes close — he served as lieutenant governor, U.S. representative and U.S. senator, but he was a congressman at a time when South Dakota had two congressional districts and so only had two statewide positions.

Larson, who won’t seek a full term as public lands commissioner and says he’s not interested in running for office again, will only end up being appointed to his record-setting third position. But it’s still a fascinating coda to an already fascinating career.

Thanks to Tony for the research.

South Dakota governors and Congress

Tony Venhuizen, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s policy and communications director and one-time Political Smokeout guest blogger, did some research into the history of South Dakota governors moving on to Congress and emailed it over. If you’re curious, take a read:

Rounds would be first ex-governor SD senator in 72 years

By Tony Venhuizen

Former Gov. Mike Rounds’ announcement of a U.S. Senate candidacy is an interesting historical moment. There was a time when South Dakota’s governors routinely sought a position on Capitol Hill, and Gov. Bill Janklow successfully won a seat in the U.S. House in 2002. 

In addition, governors across the country are routinely elected to the U.S. Senate. The current U.S. Senate includes ten former governors: Tom Carper (D-DE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Although Nebraska’s Nelson is retiring, the Senate will be gaining Angus King (I-ME) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Several other former governors unsuccessfully sought U.S. Senate seats in 2012: Hawaii’s Linda Lingle, Nebraska’s Bob Kerrey, Virginia’s George Allen, and Wisconsin’s Tommy Thompson.

It is a quirk of South Dakota history, therefore, that if Governor Mike Rounds is elected to the U.S. Senate, he will the state’s first governor to enter that chamber in 72 years.

Here is a brief history of our state’s governor’s campaigns for Congress.

Five South Dakota governors have gone on to serve in the U.S. Senate:

  • Coe I. Crawford (Republican - Governor 1907-09; Senator 1909-15). Crawford was a “progressive” attorney general and a railroad executive who was elected Governor in 1906. He passed on a second term as governor to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Alfred Kittridge - an establishment conservative - in the first direct primary for U.S. Senate in South Dakota. Crawford was elected in 1908, but angered progressives by supporting President Taft’s Payne-Aldrich tariff, and was defeated in the 1914 Republican primary.
  • Peter Norbeck (Republican - Governor 1917-21; Senator 1921-36). Norbeck was one of our state’s greatest governors - he founded Custer State Park, established the state cement plant, and held the first pheasant hunting season. Norbeck’s massive popularity ended the progressive-conservative split in the Republican Party, and he was easily elected to the U.S. Senate following two terms as governor. His service as a Senator was arguably more impactful than his service in Pierre. While in the Senate, he helped engineer the construction of Mt. Rushmore and aided in the development of Iron Mountain Road, Sylvan Lake, the Needles Highway, Wind Cave National Park, and Badlands National Monument. He also invited President Coolidge to spend the summer of 1926 at the State Game Lodge. Norbeck died in office in 1936.
  • William McMaster (Republican - Governor 1921-25; Senator 1925-31). McMaster was Norbeck’s lieutenant governor and his successor as governor, and he followed Norbeck to the Senate in 1924. Unlike Norbeck, however, McMaster was unable to survive the state’s Democratic turn after the farm crisis of the late 1920’s, and he was defeated for reelection by the popular Democratic Governor W.J. Bulow in 1930.
  • W.J. Bulow (Democrat - Governor 1927-31; Senator 1931-43). Bulow is the only Democratic governor to move on to the U.S. Senate - he defeated McMaster in 1930 and served two terms. Bulow was a conservative Democrat who opposed much of the New Deal and was an isolationist, and he was defeated for the Democratic nomination in 1942 by Governor Tom Berry, an FDR Democrat. Berry lost the general election to Governor Harlan Bushfield.
  • Harlan Bushfield (Republican - Governor 1939-43; Senator 1943-48). Bushfield served two terms as governor before being elected to the Senate in 1942, defeating former Gov. Tom Berry. He served until his death in 1948. Gov. Mickelson appointed Bushfield’s widow, Vera, to fill the seat until a replacement could be elected — making her the state’s only First Lady to serve in congress.

Only one governor has served in the U.S. House:

  • Bill Janklow (Republican - Governor 1979-87; Governor 1995-2003; U.S. House 2003-04). Gov. Janklow had unsuccessfully sought a U.S. Senate seat in 1986, and by 2002 he was the longest serving governor in the state’s history. Rather than take on Congressman John Thune in a primary for U.S. Senate, Janklow sought the Thune’s open U.S. House seat. He won a five-way Republican primary that included former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, than defeated Stephanie Herseth — a future congresswoman and the granddaughter of Governor Ralph Herseth — in the general election. Janklow served just over a year in Congress before his resignation in early 2004.

Janklow and the FBI

A fantastic long read in this morning’s Argus Leader from Peter Harriman, who requested and analyzed former Gov. Bill Janklow’s FBI file, which became public information following his death:

Over 34 years, the FBI created 10 files on the former attorney general, governor and congressman, ranging from an investigation of a rape allegation against him in 1967 to an incident in 2001 when a prison inmate sent him and three other officials envelopes containing a household cleaner purported to be anthrax.

There’s nothing new and salacious in here, Harriman finds — some hearsay accounts of allegations against Janklow from early in his career, early documentation of his “extensive record of driving infractions,” and a variety of routine notes from Janklow’s later career.

The bulk of the files come from a 1975 FBI background check when Janklow was nominated for a federal position. These are where the investigation of Janklow’s youth, time in the Marines and early career come in.

You can read the whole thing, including the actual files, here. What do you take away from Jankow’s FBI files?

Tags: Bill Janklow

Precedent for gubernatorial primary endorsements?

In this morning’s Argus Leader, I wrote about Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s latest endorsements in legislative primaries, which have raised some hackles among the candidates the governor is opposing.

I’ve got a relatively short tenure in the state, so I asked around for people who’ve been around longer if they remembered any governor making endorsements or contributions in contested primaries like Daugaard has done. Retired SDSU political science professor Bob Burns couldn’t remember any, though he acknowledged that didn’t mean it had never occurred.

Now veteran reporter Bob Mercer, who also served as an aide to former Gov. Bill Janklow, reports that feisty former governor did, in fact, intervene in GOP primaries.

Beside the obvious question of why a governor would sit silently in any contest where a proven supporter is facing a proven non-supporter, there’s also some significant recent history that suggests this is nothing new.

Back in 2002, then-Gov. Bill Janklow spread some campaign money around in Republican legislative primaries, including $250 apiece to Mike Jaspers of Sioux Falls, Ron Williamson of Sioux Falls and Alice McCoy of Rapid City.

What might be different this time around is that Daugaard’s interventions are placing him not just against individual candidates but against an organized movement of conservative activists trying to elect more conservative candidates. The governor’s endorsements thus annoy a whole network or movement, rather than just a few isolated people.

Also Daugaard isn’t nearly as established a political figure in South Dakota Republican circles as Janklow was near the end of his fourth term as governor.

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