RINO Redistricting Reprisal?

By Federal Farmer

As many of you are now aware, there will be some significant changes taking place in legislative districts across South Dakota due to the results of the 2010 Census and the resulting redistricting process that is now in its final stages.

On the east side of the state, in appears that the redistricting process will result in four additional House seats and two additional Senate seats for the Sioux Falls area.

In addition, according to published reports, including this one quoted in the Mitchell Daily Republic, the redistricting will result in several current Republican legislators being forced into primaries. Several of those legislators reside in the Sioux Falls area including the ones mentioned in the quote below:

The legislative committee’s recommendations also would create a Republican primary in a Minnehaha County district between three House incumbents. They are Rep. Bob Deelstra, of Hartford, Rep. Steve Hickey, of Sioux Falls and Rep. Lora Hubbel, of Sioux Falls. All are serving their first terms.

Now obviously, some changes are to be expected whenever redistricting is necessary – and inevitably some primaries are likely to result when changes like this are made. And with a redistricting committee composed of 12 Republicans and 3 Democrats, there are bound to be complaints about how the redistricting is being done.In remarks to the Argus Leader regarding some of the newly drawn district boundaries in the Sioux Falls area, Rep. Fargen (D- Flandreau) opined that:

It does a dishonesty to the people in the rural areas. They may not get as much representation in those areas as they should.

Perhaps his point is a valid one, but that is a topic best suited for another article.

Lost in all the “Republican vs. Democrat” rhetoric over the redistricting map, is the fact that there appears to be a disturbing trend emerging in regard to how some of the more conservative members of the legislature are being treated by the S.D. GOP in the proposed redistricting plan.

It appears now that the new district boundaries could possibly result in noted Pro-Life advocate Roger Hunt (R-Brandon), who is now term-limited in the House, having to compete for a Senate seat against Senator (and S.D. GOP party chairman) Tim Rave. Running against an incumbent state party chairman is not what you would call an enviable position. In fact, running a primary campaign for Senate in that situation would qualify as an ‘uphill battle’. And that’s probably an understatement.

In the case of Rep. Steve Hickey from District 9, and Rep. Lora Hubbel from District 11, the committee is proposing that Precinct 3-9 (where Rep. Hubbel resides) be added to District 9. This proposed change is likely to result in two conservative and solidly Pro-Life members of the Republican party being forced to run against each other in a primary in 2012.

If that were to end up being the case, the Pro-Life community could very well end up losing valuable support in the legislature.

One of the “interesting” things about the redistricting committee’s proposal to shift Rep. Hubbel out of District 11 and into District 9, is that there were at least three other redistricting proposals under consideration for the Sioux Falls area. Those other proposals would have in all likelihood allowed Rep. Hubbel to not only remain in District 11, but would have also allowed the voters of District 11 to retain their duly elected representative.

If these were the only two instances where conservative Republicans might possibly be facing a primary challenge or other impediment in their re-election campaigns due to redistricting, perhaps we could chalk it up to mere happenstance.Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

In the case of Rep. Jenna Haggar (I), another Pro-Life legislator from Sioux Falls, the boundaries of District 15 have been gerrymandered to specifically exclude Precinct 5-16 where she resides. That change would move her into District 10 where she will have only about seven months to introduce herself to a totally new group of voters before the primary.

At the same time, Precinct 4-4 which was part of District 9 and is the precinct adjoining Precinct 5-16 has now been added to District 15. This is significant for two reasons:

First of all, Precinct 4-4 just so happens to have an almost 350 person advantage in Democrat voter registrations, which allows the redistricting committee to consolidate even more Democrat voters into what is an already heavily Democrat district.

Secondly, by moving Rep. Haggar to District 10 and a different voter base, they are essentially going to make re-election more difficult for yet another conservative Pro-Life legislator.

Click to enlarge

However, the Sioux Falls conurbation area is not the only part of the state where these redistricting shenanigans are taking place.

Over in District 25, we see the exact same redistricting theme emerging once again.

In the Mitchell/Alexandria/Fulton area, Rep. Stace Nelson who is also a solid conservative and Pro-Life House member, will be bumped out of District 25 and into District 19 due to the new proposed redistricting plan.Although Rep. Nelson will not necessarily face a Republican primary challenger this time around, he will however, be matched up in the general election against well-funded and veteran Democrat legislator Rep. Frank Kloucek who ran for a seat in the House in 2010 after being term-limited in the Senate.

We are of the opinion that these examples are not merely coincidental, but part of a deliberate effort to marginalize conservative Republican and Independent lawmakers.Now, to be fair, one political website has noted there may possibly be one or two districts where incumbent Democrats could also end up having to run against each other in a primary.But doesn’t it seem more than a little odd that a Republican-dominated redistricting committee would seemingly make it even more difficult for some of the more conservative members of its own caucus to get re-elected than members of the opposing party?

One might expect to see some potential district realignments or outright gerrymandering if the aim was only to achieve (or protect) a Republican majority in both the House and Senate.

But with already substantial majorities in both houses of the legislature it seems increasingly clear to many observers that the establishment Republicans and now the redistricting committee as well, seem to be focusing on making it as difficult as possible for several of the most conservative and Pro-Life Republican legislators to get re-elected in 2012.

It appears that they are doing so in an attempt to minimize the influence of conservative Independents and Republicans and to preserve the political status-quo in Pierre.

Our question to those of you reading this article is this: Are you willing to do something to protest against the unfair treatment of conservative and Pro-Life legislators?

If your answer is ‘YES’ then please click this link to send us an e-mail if you would be willing to sign an online petition in support of our conservative legislators or to receive information on how you can send e-mails to the members of the redistricting committee to let them know that you disapprove of how they are treating conservative legislators in the redistricting process.

In addition, if you would like to support any of the conservative candidates mentioned in this article, please check out their websites and make a contribution to their campaigns.


Note: No website for Rep. Roger Hunt was available at the time this article was submitted.

Federal Farmer is a concerned citizen from East River South Dakota.

5 Responses to “RINO Redistricting Reprisal?”

  1. Thanks to whomever is concerned that folks like me aren’t routed from the party. It has never been my concern nor fear. Not once have I felt anything but support from any in our party’s leadership even in disagreements. If it’s true I’m further right than “leadership” on an issue or two, and I’m not convinced that’s the case, it’s perhaps also true I’m left on other issues – indians, usury laws. That being said, those who have actually been in positions of leadership know there are times when you can’t please anyone. Here Republican leadership has upset both the left and the right in this redistricting process. That is evidence to me they did their job. There are way too many complex variables and safeguards in this redistricting process to reasonably surmise a larger conspiracy against more conservative candidates – conservative candidates are even on the committee.  

    A house divided soon falls and I’ve heard Republican leadership plea to keep us a united bunch. The voice of diversity reflected in our party and even our districts is discernibly welcomed in our caucus. It has been obvious to me they are happy to have people serving who generally reflect Republican values. I was pleasantly surprised early in this last session to hear a Bible verse be given us with the admonition it be equally applied even across party lines…. “outdo one another in showing honor.” In my view it is not the case that the people who put that forth are now playing dirty games in the redistricting process. Ensuring that people vote lock stock and barrel with a certain flavor or interpretation of conservative politics is hardly the goal — it’s impossible and therefore an exercise in futility. 

    If a legislator is amiable and reasonable, my observation is they are valued and supported. The Republican House for example is a LARGE group and Republicans can be thankful for that – it is to be expected there are pockets of diversity within a larger group. The challenge is mine to be articulate and amiable in presenting my particular views on issues and I’ve seen minds change. At least in the Sioux Falls area every candidate knows every primary and election means a potential and even serious challenge. I expected redistricting to mean my seat is again up for grabs. 

    What I do like about this anonymous article is that it ends with the best way to ensure your favorite candidate has what it takes to stay in office – send money and volunteer. Here’s my address: Rep. Steve Hickey, 4501 N. Ellis Rd. Sioux Falls, SD 57107  

  2. Well as long as Todd Schleckway & Jim Bolin were able to accomodate themselves, Deb Peters, David Lust, etc..  Seems being a Republican is NOT about actually being one, it is as these people define being one to suit their wants of the moment. I am sure we are just not savvy enough to be getting the big picture that these brilliant self-serving RINOs have in store for themselves… errrrrrr for the state. 

  3. I’m glad you’re okay with the way this redistricting plan is shaking out, Steve, but I can’t be as optimistic that it isn’t a deliberate attempt by the RINO leadership to oust some of those thorn-in-the-side conservatives like yourself.

    With Republican control at fantastic highs in the legislature this past session, I have to say that I found the advancement of the Republican agenda absolutely pathetic. I just can’t sugar coat it.

    – Fighting for South Dakotan’s freedom against unconstitutional ObamaCare? Deliberate dereliction of duty.
    – Working to enforce our nation’s laws that our federal government REFUSES to do? Deliberate dereliction of duty.
    – Bringing greater accountability to our welfare system with drug testing when there is reason to believe a recipient is using? Deliberate dereliction of duty.
    – Protecting against Shariah law in South Dakota? While at least one of the bills did need some work, it wouldn’t have been hard to fix it and ensure that what we see going on in Europe and beginning here in the US doesn’t spread to our state. The leadership wasn’t interested, though.
    – Stace Nelson’s idea to make it easier for the voters to see their representative’s voting record on the LRC website was received with a very cold shoulder from the powers that be.

    And this is not the first session where we’ve seen animosity toward core Republican issues in the legislature…by Republicans!

    To be fair, there were some very good things accomplished by the legislature last session. But when you consider what COULD have been done with a large GOP majority? Squandered, absolutely squandered opportunity. And when members of the leadership controlled and/or dominated some of the committees that killed good legislation before it could even make it to the floor, that only heightens my disgust with what passes for “Republican” leadership.

    So when a redistricting plan comes around that seems to target some of our best conservatives and eliminate some of them no matter what, yeah, I’m more than a little suspicious that the RINO leadership isn’t doing it intentionally.

    We BADLY need a change in party leadership in Pierre, and with fewer real Republicans going back in 2013, that change is less likely to happen.

  4. Advancement of the Republican agenda, Bob? That would mean these RINOs actually read the party platform and advocated those issues in legislation!  Rumor has it that the party platform was only mentioned once this last session and the issue was voted against by House “Republicans.”

    South Dakotans need to get a clue and actually look at these people’s voting records and that many of them claiming to be Republicans do not uphold any of the principles that make a Republican a Republican.