Heidepriem counting on GOP supportSouth Dakota Democrats have long relied on some Republican support and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scott Heidepriem is also banking on votes from people who don’t belong to his party.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
South Dakota Democrats have long relied on some Republican support and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scott Heidepriem is also banking on votes from people who don’t belong to his party.
Heidepriem announced some Republican support this week, unveiling an endorsement from state Sen. Stan Adelstein, RRapid City.
“I have decided that I must endorse the person, regardless of party, who can best govern the state of South Dakota. That person is Scott Heidepriem,” Adelstein said.
“Unfortunately, my party’s candidate, whom every one recognizes as a nice and decent human being, continues to refuse or even discuss, let alone address, some solutions to the problems that everyone knows are drastic in our state budget,” he said. “By contrast, Scott Heidepriem has been consistent in his call for a host of solutions to bring our budget crisis under control.”
Heidepriem’s campaign pointed out that other Republicans are backing him, including former legislator and congressional candidate Don Frankenfeld and Russell Janklow, the son of the fourterm Republican governor.
Adelstein, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Heidepriem has the “experience, skill and courage” to deal with the state’s financial challenges.
Adelstein said the lack of an increase in funding for education, a refusal to provide a $1 million for prenatal care and a nearly $2 million reduction in tech school funding despite increased enrollment also bothered him.
“To claim there is no budget crisis in the face of such grim realities is just not reasonable,” he said.
Adelstein, who is pro-choice, said abortion was a consideration as well.
Adelstein said he was endorsing the Democratic candidate out of concern that Daugaard “will not rule out another attempt to ban abortion for victims of rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother, despite the voters having definitively rejected such an extremist approach.
“I know that we must prevent the Legislature from, once again, getting distracted on that extreme ban and focus their energy on jobs, the economy, the budget and education.”
Adelstein, a wealthy businessman and frequent donor to Rapid City civic causes, is a unique West River Republican. He’s moderate to liberal on other issues. But he’s also been a friend and ally of Gov. Mike Rounds for years.
In the past few years, some Republicans have called Adelstein a RINO — a Republican In Name Only. He faced a challenge from within the party in 2006 and lost the GOP primary to Ellie Schwiesow, a conservative party activist.
After mulling a party switch, Adelstein endorsed Democrat Tom Katus and helped him win the Senate seat.
Then, in 2008, Adelstein regained the GOP nomination and won a return to the Senate in a wild three-way race between himself, Katus and Schwiesow, who ran as an independent.
Heidepriem, who was first elected to the Legislature as a Republican, chose Republican Ben Arndt as his running mate this spring. Arndt changed parties when Secretary of State Chris Nelson, a Republican, raised questions about the legality of the Democratic Party nominating someone who wasn’t a registered member of the party.
Many South Dakota Democrat officials have relied on support from across the aisle in the past 50 years.
George McGovern, Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin have all counted on GOP votes to win. This week, Herseth Sandlin said she had the support of some prominent Republicans, including former legislator Casey Murschel and Frank Brost, the former chief of staff of former Gov. George S. Mickelson, in her race against state Rep. Kristi Noem.
In 1986, Mickelson defeated Herseth Sandlin’s father, Lars Herseth, in 1986. Now, Brost is backing the daughter of his late boss’ onetime rival.