If you are a conservative who is familiar with Duniphan’s liberal voting record, you probably chuckled sarcastically, smirked, or said something less fit for a family audience. A few weeks ago, I overheard some people I barely knew talking about this “good old-fashioned conservative Republican” claim; they made comments to the effect of: “Yeah, right!”
The man who trounced the incumbent Duniphan in the 2006 Republican primary 61.34% to 38.66%, Dennis Schmidt, won that seat in the general election, and again won it in 2008. In 2010, however, Dennis has other fish to fry and decided early on he would not run for re-election.
Former Dist. 34 representative Elizabeth Kraus, who did not run for re-election to her legislative seat in 2006 to spend more time with family, has since moved from Dist. 34 to Dist. 33 and decided to run for the seat being vacated by Dennis Schmidt.
Duniphan also decided to run for that seat, and a few months ago began to be seen hanging around meetings of Citizens for Liberty, the Rapid City Tea Party group. While many people wondered why someone as liberal as Duniphan would be hanging out at the meetings of a limited government group, no one got too worked up about it. Group meetings are always open to the public, and you never know when a liberal might come and learn something, and end up helping our country return to its constitutional foundation.
However, as Citizens for Liberty began to look at candidates and make endorsements per their mission statement, the Kraus/Duniphan contest was one where the voting records made an endorsement decision fairly easy. Unfortunately for some, others may not have seen the distinction so easily, for when Citizens for Liberty publicly announced at the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party their endorsement of Elizabeth Kraus along with candidates in other races, witnesses report that Duniphan–who was in the audience at the event–got up and left immediately.
The differences between the two candidates is large:
- Kraus voted to repeal taxes such as HB 1283, HB 1100, HB 1098 and HB 1123; Duniphan voted in favor of keeping and raising taxes
- Kraus supported abortion restrictions in 2004 and 2006; Duniphan voted against both bills
- Kraus sponsored the South Dakota marriage protection amendment; Duniphan voted against protecting marriage
- Kraus supported informed consent to provide women with more information prior to an abortion; Duniphan voted against
- There are also some gun control votes that don’t make Duniphan look too friendly for the right of other people to keep and bear arms
Citizens for Liberty considers it very important to ensure taxpayers and voters are kept informed about the issues and the stands taken by elected officials and candidates. Accordingly, with the differences in voting records between Kraus and Duniphan being so profound, Citizens for Liberty recently sent out a mailer in District 33 informing voters about Duniphan’s liberal tax record.
Some days after this mailer went out, J.P. Duniphan began running an ad in the Rapid City Journal on June 4 which denied her voting record against prohibiting an income tax in South Dakota, and accused Kraus of sending the mailer. However, near the very voting record she denied, is the statement “Paid for by Citizens for Liberty.” How she gets “Elizabeth Kraus” out of “Citizens for Liberty,” a group she is familiar with because she has attended their meetings, is beyond me.
Regarding that vote against prohibiting a state income tax, most people I know understand that if you deliberately refuse an opportunity to prohibit something, you definitely want to keep the door open to that something. If some people wanted to institute a tax on bicycles, and as a legislator I had a bill in front of me that would prohibit any future taxes on bicycles, and I voted against that prohibition, any reasonable person would conclude that I wanted to keep the door open to a bicycle tax in the future. It’s really no different with this vote against a prohibition against a state income tax, and to claim otherwise is being disingenuous.
I spoke with Kraus yesterday and she is very disturbed about Duniphan’s ad, especially since she has a longstanding commitment to run a clean campaign. Kraus is a woman with class who wants to stay on the issues, not get bogged down in dirty politics.
In response to this demonstrably false statement against Elizabeth Kraus, Citizens for Liberty issued the following statement today to all Black Hills area media:
On Jun. 4, Dist. 33 state Senate candidate J.P. Duniphan ran a newspaper ad accusing her Republican opponent Elizabeth Kraus of sending out a “last minute attack mailing” about Duniphan’s voting record on taxes.
Sadly, it seems Duniphan is the one perpetrating the “last minute attack.”
The mailing in question was sent by Citizens for Liberty and clearly stated “Paid for by Citizens for Liberty.” Since this statement of ownership was plainly printed near the details and references of her voting record on taxes, certainly she must have noticed who sent the mailer.
We can only wonder about the motive of someone who would accuse her opponent of sending a mailer that the opponent clearly did not send, and who would claim her opponent had told “a lie” on the mailer when it was obvious that the opponent didn’t even send the mailer.
Elizabeth Kraus has run a clean campaign, and it’s a shame that just days short of the election she has been falsely accused of doing otherwise.
J.P. Duniphan is right about one thing: last minute lies indeed are slime. The voting records of both candidates are available online, and we believe folks already know which candidate is the real “old fashioned conservative Republican.”
I learned this afternoon that Duniphan had also sent out her own mailer and it was reaching Dist. 33 mailboxes today. Her mailer was ostensibly a response to more “slime.” This “slime” was a mailer sent out by Family Matters PAC which exposed Duniphan’s liberal record on homosexuality, marriage, and sex education…again accusing Elizabeth Kraus of “sliming” her, even though the mailers in question stated quite obviously that they were not from Kraus but from Family Matters PAC.
Now, missing who sent a mailer might be missed once…maybe. Missing the fact that Elizabeth Kraus did not send out these mailers three separate times? It seems hard to escape the conclusion that J.P. Duniphan is playing one of the oldest plays in the liberal playbook: do something dirty, then accuse your opponent of having done something dirty first. Or as some people say, accuse your opponent of what you are doing.
It’s obvious Duniphan badly wants to be back in power. It’s unfortunate, however, that she feels it necessary to falsely accuse–repeatedly–her opponent in order to draw attention away from her own liberal record.
“Old Fashioned conservative Republican”? Not even close.