“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

Candidates Endorsed by Homosexual Group Didn’t Do Well Tuesday

The pro-homosexual group Equality South Dakota endorsed 40 legislative candidates across the state. This was the first time that a pro-homosexual group had openly endorsed candidates and provided campaign funds for them.

EqSD sent surveys out to legislative candidates which asked three questions:

1. Employment Discrimination: In South Dakota, it is legal to fire or refuse to hire someone just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or transgender. More than 430 of the Fortune 500 companies have already adopted inclusive antidiscrimination policies and 74% of Americans support legislation that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by state and local governments. In concept, would you support such a bill?

2. Safe Schools
Studies show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students face disproportionate levels of violence, harassment, and discrimination in public schools. A recent survey found that when these students reported harassment to school officials, it went unaddressed 73% of the time. Equality SD believes the legislature must send a clear message to school officials that every student has a right to a safe learning environment, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or disability. In concept would you support legislation requiring school systems to adopt inclusive harassment and discrimination policies?

3. Relationship Recognition
Because same sex couples can legally be denied access to their partners in health care settings, such as hospital emergency room events, gays and lesbians have lost partners without entry to their deathbed or the ability to comfort their loved in their last hour. In concept, would you support legislation granting hospital visitation rights and similar protections that recognize gay relationships.

This is the list of those who were endorsed by EqSD based on their response to the survey:

Elaine Elliott, Democrat, House District 2, Aberdeen.
Daniel Kaiser, Republican, House District 2, Aberdeen.
Mark Remily, Democrat, House District 3, Aberdeen.
Curt Johnson, Democrat, House District 5, Watertown. (new endorsement)
Dennis Nemmers, Democrat, Senate District 6, Castlewood.
Mitch Fargen, Democrat, House District 8, Flandreau.
Patricia Stricherz, Republican, House District 8, Dell Rapids.
Marlyn “Sonny” Beebe, Democrat, House District 9, Sioux Falls. (new endorsement)
Clara Hart, Democrat, District 10 Senate, Sioux Falls. (new endorsement)
Mary Ann Giebink, Democrat, House District 10, Sioux Falls.
Nate Welch, Democrat, Senate District 11, Sioux Falls.
Darrell Solberg, Democrat, House District 11, Sioux Falls.
Greg Kniffen, Democrat, House District 12, Sioux Falls.
Paula Johnson, Democrat, House District 12, Sioux Falls.
Susy Blake, Democrat, House District 13, Sioux Falls.
Bill Thompson, Democrat, House District 13, Sioux Falls.
Bob Stevens, Democrat, Senate District 14, Sioux Falls.
Jacey Harmon, Democrat, House District 14, Sioux Falls.
Martha Vanderlinde, Democrat, House District 15, Sioux Falls.
Janelle O’Connor, Democrat, House District 16, Alcester.
Ben Nesselhuf, Democrat, Senate District 17, Vermillion.
Roger Tigert, Republican, House District 17, Vermillion. (new endorsement)
Bernie Hunhoff, Democrat, House District 18, Yankton.
Nicholas Nemec, Democrat, Senate District 23, Holabird.
Kim Sargent, Democrat, Senate District 24, Pierre.
Larry Lucas, Democrat, House District 26A, Mission.
Kevin Killer, Democrat, House District 27, Pine Ridge.
Everett Hunt, Republican, House District 28A, Eagle Butte.
Fred McPherson, Democrat, House District 29, Sturgis.
Jacqueline Gerenz, Democrat, House District 30, Custer.
Nyla Griffith, Democrat, Senate District 31, Deadwood.
Kevin O’Dea, Democrat, House District 31, Spearfish.
Eric Abrahamson, Democrat, House District 32, Rapid City.
Bethany Wojahn, Democrat, House District 32, Rapid City.
Dennis Finch, Democrat, Senate District 33, Rapid City.
Jeff Nelsen, Democrat, House District 33, Rapid City.
Craig Tieszen, Republican, Senate District 34, Rapid City.
Bonny Petersen, Democrat, House District 34, Rapid City. (new endorsement)
Fern Johnson, Democrat, House District 35, Rapid City.
Curtis Marquardt, Democrat, House District 35, Rapid City.

So how successful were EqSD’s candidates? Not very. Out of the 40 endorsed, 75.6% lost their bids for the South Dakota legislature.

Five of the 40 endorsees were Republicans. Former Rapid City police chief Craig Tiezen running for Dist. 34 senate was the only endorsed Republican to be elected.

It is difficult to know what effect if any the endorsements had on the election prospects of the candidates. I am only aware of one news story in the “mainstream” media which acknowledged the endorsements–Dennis Finch running for Dist. 33 senate–and Finch lost.

However, with only one in four endorsees elected, the endorsements don’t appear to have helped much.


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