Weiland, Hubbel qualify for ballot

It took to the deadline, but Democrats got their U.S. Senate candidate officially on the ballot. Rick Weiland was certified today for the upcoming election by Secretary of State Jason Gant after turning in around 3,000 signatures Monday — about three times what he needed.

Meanwhile, on the same day Gov. Dennis Daugaard formally announced his reelection bid, Daugaard officially got a primary challenger. Former state Rep. Lora Hubbel qualified for the ballot as well.

U.S. Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg is apparently turning in his petitions today at 2 p.m.:

Ravnsborg’s signatures will still have to be verified and every now and then a statewide candidate falls through the cracks.

Several statewide candidates have yet to turn in their petitions, to the best of my knowledge. Three are in the gubernatorial race: Democrat Susan Wismer, independent Mike Myers and Constitution Party candidate Curtis Strong.

U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth also has yet to report turning in her petitions.

Candidates have to turn in their petitions today, either in person at the Secretary of State’s office or by sending them via registered mail by the end of the day.

It can take several days for the Secretary of State to certify all the petitions coming in at and after the deadline — and longer if there’s a challenge.

Female governors

Two women are currently running for governor of South Dakota: Democrat Susan Wismer and Republican Lora Hubbel. Both face an uphill battle in beating incumbent Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard. But if either managed to even get their party’s nomination, they’d make history: South Dakota is one of 10 states where no major party has ever nominated a woman for governor.

That’s according to a table compiled by Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics.

The other states to never even nominate a woman for governor are Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

Another 16 states have had women win a gubernatorial nomination, but never win the top job.

The other 24 states have had a female governor.

The states that have nominated the most women tend to be Western states — Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming and Arizona are the top four.

View the full chart here.

EDIT: A reader points to one additional South Dakota woman who deserves mention: 1930 gubernatorial candidate Gladys Pyle. Then the Secretary of State, Pyle won the most votes in South Dakota’s 1930 Republican gubernatorial primary. But because she didn’t get 35 percent of the vote in a multi-way primary, the nomination went to a convention, which gave it to Warren E. Green. Pyle later won election to an abbreviated two-month term in the U.S. Senate under special circumstances. In 1922, she was the first woman elected to the South Dakota Legislature.

Hubbel to make formal gubernatorial announcement Monday

Earlier this week, I reported on Lora Hubbel’s filing to run for governor. She didn’t respond to my messages for that story, but now sends out an announcement that she’ll formally enter the race on Monday.

Here’s her release, verbatim, which includes an odd paragraph obliquely addressing the article:

Former SD U.S. House of Representative Lora Hubbel (R) will formally announce her candidacy for Governor on Monday, Oct 21,2013 10:00am at Sioux Falls Main public library in downtown Sioux Falls. She wil then be at an announcement event in Rapid City, SD, on Tuesday, Oct 22 at 10:00 am at the Alex Johnston Hotel.

Lora will then travel to Pierre, SD to attend the candidates, “meet and greet” at the capitol and be available to answer questions at any of the events on Monday Oct 21 and Tuesday, Oct 22 in the early evening.

Former Rep. Hubbel acknowledges that she became aware of the Argus Leader story of Wednesday, Oct 16, when the newspaper came out speculating about her possible run, but that she had not given any information to the reporter nor any other person mentioned in the article about her run against for Governor.

She welcomes the opportunity to formally announce to South Dakotans on Monday, Oct 21 and Tuesday Oct 22 via her prepared presentation and statement. She will outline her reasons and objectives of a run against current Governor Daugaard. Her formal announcement will also include preliminary details as to her campaign staff and key principals.

I’m not sure exactly what that third paragraph is saying. That she didn’t speak to me? I said that in the article. That she didn’t speak to Manny Steele? I said in the article that Steele was unaware of Hubbel’s plans. Very odd.

Tags: Lora Hubbel

Hubbel running for governor

Outspoken former lawmaker Lora Hubbel has filed paperwork to run for governor next year.

That would set her up for a primary challenge to incumbent Dennis Daugaard, who intends to seek another term. Both are Republicans.

There is as of yet no formal announcement from Hubbel about her plans. She didn’t return several calls Tuesday morning.

News of Hubbel’s filing was first reported by the South Dakota War College blog.

Hubbel, who also was a controversial chair of the Minnehaha County Republican Party, previously said she “will be running for an office next year” but didn’t “know which one.”

But governor seemed the most likely office for Hubbel to seek. She has long been critical of Gov. Dennis Daugaard for allegedly being too friendly to the Affordable Care Act — he supported a lawsuit against it, declined to administer its exchanges, and is leaning against a prompt expansion of Medicaid, but also changed South Dakota law to account for some of the federal act’s less controversial changes.

Hubbel’s advertisement at the Lincoln County GOP dinner last month included the tagline “Hubbel… because you know things should be better in South Dakota,” phrasing which also pointed to a run for governor.

When Hubbel was the Minnehaha County party chair, she was involved in the short-lived decision to withdraw from the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored legislative forums and host alternative, Republican-sponsored forums. That decision drew a swift backlash, including repudiation from the state GOP. After new leadership elections in which Hubbel didn’t run, the new chair cancelled the alternative forums and returned to the Chamber events.

What’s with the office-agnostic candidates?

A rule of thumb in journalism is that three instances of a thing make a trend. So what’s with the trend of South Dakotans announcing they’re going to run for office, but not which one?

The simplest explanation is the candidates are telling the truth: they feel a call to public service but haven’t decided what office to run for.

My best guess, though, is that this is misleading ambiguity — the almost-candidates know which office they want to run for, and want to fire up potential supporters by declaring they’ll be candidates, without getting pinned down or spoiling their official announcements by giving specifics. So they either remain ambiguous or outright lie, and say they don’t know which office they’re running for.

Is this a trend we’re going to see continue? If my hypothesis is true, I suspect candidates could get just as much impact without the awkwardness by just saying they’re considering running for a particular office.

Hubbel will run for something; no announcement yet

Former lawmaker and Minnehaha County Republican Party chair Lora Hubbel will make a return to electoral politics next year.

But Hubbel said she hasn’t yet decided what she’ll run for, and that an announcement is still in the future.

"I will be running for an office next year, but I don’t know which one," Hubbel said Thursday morning. "I have not set a date for any kind of announcement."

Conservative blogger Pat Powers tweeted Thursday morning that Hubbel might announce a run for governor today. Hubbel said she won’t be making any announcement today.

Minnehaha GOP cancels alternative forums

The newly elected leadership of the Minnehaha County Republican Party has cancelled the alternative legislative forums the group had announced earlier this month.

Under previous chair Lora Hubbel, the party’s central committee voted unanimously to hold its own forums at the same time as the traditional legislative coffees sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters of the decision said the Chamber-sponsored forums saw audiences and moderation biased against conservatives.

Now those alternative forums, the first of which was scheduled for Saturday, won’t happen.

"The legislative cracker barrels provide a forum for elected officials to update the public regarding legislative progress and receive constituent feedback," the county party wrote in a news release sent out early Wednesday morning. "The cracker barrels also provide an important opportunity for legislators to outline pro-growth solutions for creating jobs, keeping taxes low, and creating a brighter future for the next generation."

The release was unsigned. The new chair of the Minnehaha County Republican Party is Dave Roetman.

In addition to not holding its alternative events, the Minnehaha County Republican Party will sponsor the Chamber’s forums, as it has traditionally.

Forum move heightens focus on Minnehaha County GOP election

The next hotly contested election in Sioux Falls could be the one to lead the Minnehaha County Republican Party.

The GOP group for South Dakota’s largest county hit the spotlight this week with its decision to boycott traditional legislative forums sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and hold its own at the same time.

The county party’s leadership includes many outspoken conservative activists. Several of its top figures, including chairwoman Lora Hubbel and parliamentarian Daniel Willard, have clashed with established Republican officials including Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Its decision to compete with the Chamber-sponsored forums drew cold shoulders from many local Republican officials and a rebuke from the statewide Republican Party.

Now some GOP lawmakers are talking about getting more involved with the party’s operations — something they haven’t always taken the time to do.

“We’re all busy. We all have lots of conflicts,” said state Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, who noted that “organizations are run by those who show up.”

Since the legislative forum announcement this week, Johnston said, he has had “more than a dozen people call me and email me and tell me maybe it’s time I show up.”

Johnston lives in Lincoln County, and so wouldn’t be eligible to vote in the Minnehaha County GOP elections. But his sentiments are mirrored by other lawmakers who do live in Minnehaha County.

State Sen. Tim Rave, R-Baltic and the outgoing chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, said he’s heard a few people express “renewed interest in the process of county party activity.”

Things could come to a head in the early afternoon on Jan. 26, when the county’s central committee meets to elect a new chair.

Hubbel, an outgoing state representative, isn’t going to be a candidate.

She said she welcomes renewed interest from Republican lawmakers, who have voting rights on the county party’s central committee.

But she doubted an establishment-backed candidate could win an election as chair, predicting another conservative activist would succeed her.

The central committee Minnehaha County Republican Party is made up of a man and a woman from each precinct in the county, plus elected Republican legislators and Minnehaha County officials.

The precinct representatives are elected every two years in Republican primaries.

Not all the precinct committeeman and committeewoman spots are full but the incomplete roster has 71 people.

Elected officials bring the total number of voting members up to about 100, though some legislators such as Rave and Sen.-elect David Omdahl are also elected precinct committee-people in their own right.

The Jan. 26 meeting will take place after the dueling legislative coffees, the Chamber-sponsored one at the Holiday Inn City Centre and the party-sponsored event at the Ramada Hotel & Suites.

It’s the first of four legislative coffees for each group, all on the same days at the same times.

But state Rep. Manny Steele said that might also be the last legislative coffee hosted by the county this year.

Steele, a vocal defender of the county party’s decision to break off and hold its own forums, said the party might end up cancelling the last three events.

“I really doubt there’s going to be any extra legislative coffees put on by the Minnehaha County (GOP),” Steele said. “I would assume they’re going to have the first one.”

Renting rooms and holding question-and-answer sessions is expensive and hard work, Steele said. He argued the party’s announcement helped get “the message across” about the party’s concerns that the crowds and moderation at the Chamber-sponsored legislative coffees were too liberal.

Hubbel, however, didn’t see the party backing down.

“I think once people realize more about it… then they’ll come on board,” she said. “They just get a little bit of information and get scared that there’s something different here, even though they’ve been complaining about (the Chamber forums) for years. Once they realize that (the party forums) was not anything bizarre, it’ll be welcome.”

Hubbel not seeking new term as Minnehaha County GOP chair

On Jan. 26, after their first alternative legislative forum, the Minnehaha County Republican Party’s executive board will meet to choose a new chair and vice chair.

That’s sure to be a fascinating race, probably pitting an establishment candidate against an activist candidate.

But whoever the winner is, it won’t be controversial chair Lora Hubbel.

Hubbel isn’t running, saying the job takes up too much time and she needs to focus on her business.

"It’s pretty much a thankless job, a lot of work," said Hubbel. "I’m kind of busy with my own real estate business."

Hubbel, an outgoing state representative, was the party’s vice-chair behind chairman David Rose. When Rose resigned in August for health reasons, Hubbel became chairwoman.

Who do you think will be the next Minnehaha Republican Party chair? Will it be a figure aligned with the establishment forces or the conservative activists?

SDGOP not standing with Minnehaha County GOP

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a state party throwing its county affiliate under the bus.

I just got this email from Tony Post, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, responding to the decision of the Minnehaha County Republican Party to boycott legislative coffees sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and set up their own, competing forums:

The South Dakota Republican Party is happy to partner with the Sioux Falls Chamber if the local party is not. A couple of rogue elements in the Minnehaha group certainly does not not speak for the party at large. 

In fact, this latest episode from Lora Hubbel speaks volumes. The chamber provides a forum for accountability and disparate views, which the SDGOP certainly supports. 

We are working with the Sioux Falls legislators and Chamber and will look forward to the regularly scheduled program. 

The vote at the Minnehaha County Republican Party central committee to set up their own legislative forum was reportedly unanimous among the people there, though not all voting members were present.

This keeps getting more interesting.

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