Having traveled to 49 of our beautiful states (Alaska is on the bucket list), and some 38 foreign nations, I have come to one very unique conclusion. The Great State of South Dakota has the most polite, decent, honorable, and caring citizens of any city, state or nation that I have ever visited or lived in.
While these are beautiful attributes for a community or society, they do come with a couple of drawbacks. Typically and in comparison to large cities, the residents tend to be on the romantic side when it comes to evil or corruption. IE; simply go to a Walmart parking lot in a small town in the upper mid-west and most if not all of the pickups in the lot will be unlocked with the keys in the ignition. I learned this from having lived in Western South Dakota years ago. I’ll never forget going to Walmart one cold winter Saturday morning. When I had locked my truck, I heard a symphony of diesel engines running in the parking lot. As I walked into the store, I passed by probably six idling pickups, and everyone was unlocked with the engine running. I suppose the reason is because South Dakotans don’t lie, cheat or steal, they assume nobody else does either. Yes indeed, the souls of these great people are truly pure and good.
This is why when I found out about the depth’s of corruption within the South Dakota elected community, the news of some of what I have learned became so troubling to me. Why would these elected officials and those who wanted to be elected pull some of these shenanigans on the decent residents of this great state? Answer; Because these politicos knew they could take advantage of the good people with almost no ramifications or recourse. The end game being, ‘power and greed.’
Example; I won’t elaborate much on the story, you can read all about in this article at this website. I will say this much, several years ago I was called by a United States Senate candidate in South Dakota. His name is Jason Ravnsborg. Jason was a very nice younger Attorney from Yankton who decided he wanted to run for the Senate and asked for my help. After vetting him in several phone calls, I decided he was legitimate and traveled to Sioux Falls. After setting up camp at a local hotel, I began visiting with Jason, going to events with the young candidate. Along the way as you might expect, one question I asked about was “why are you running for the Senate, you haven’t ever been a candidate before, the U. S. Senate seems like a huge leap?” That was paraphrased as I don’t remember exactly how I worded it, but that is very close.
I had asked this question after I had watched him at a couple of events and he seemed almost like a fish out of water. You could tell he was nervous and somewhat uncomfortable at these events. He just never seemed to be at home on the campaign trail like most candidates. The answer he gave me was sort of strange, but at the time it made sense and did not at all seem nefarious. Jason responded with; I’m running to do a favor for a couple of friends Dan Lederman and Joel Arends. As I said, at the time it seemed a little strange, but he went on to explain that they were old college buddies and as I recall one of them was a State Senator at the time this happened.
After a lukewarm campaign for about 6-weeks, I am wondering “why” the candidate is not more pumped up. I called a friend of mine from Dallas, Texas to come up, shoot some commercials to get this candidate some much-needed name recognition. He did, we shot the ads, purchased the television time and low and behold, Jason was now doing well. Finally, my adviser and I decided that with an advertisement that pretty much indicted then-candidate Mike Rounds in criminal activity regarding a major scandal, we could have forced a run-off between Jason and Rounds. To this day, I am convinced, that had we run that campaign ad, we would have forced a run-off election and Jason would have likely won. The advertisement was that damming and that well produced. Ravnsborg refused and would not let us run that ad. I am screaming one night after a long drive back to Sioux Falls from Western South Dakota. Why? Why won’t you run that ad? He would only say that he refused to go negative.
I had come to Sioux Falls to win, not just make a good show. I was heavily invested in this campaign as I had not even been drawing a salary, I was working for free until he won the primary. Jason wouldn’t answer me, and then the light bulb went off in my head. I looked into his eyes and said; “you don’t want to win do you?” He still wouldn’t answer, and then I confronted him again, and he looked at the ground and would not look at me. That was my answer. I ended with, ‘let me guess, you were supposed to run, take votes away from Stace Nelson (the strong conservative in the race), so Mike Rounds would win the primary.’ He only stared at me and would not answer. “I then said, the payoff is Attorney General isn’t it? Your friends and the party have promised you AG if you did this, didn’t they?” In six weeks, we had taken this no-name young attorney to a position where he could have forced a run-off against a former two-term governor and all we had to do was to run a hard-hitting advertisement to accomplish this. And he refused! I left the next morning and went home.
The following January, I ran into Jason at a political event in Des Moines, Iowa. I asked him how he was doing and believe it or not; he was actually charming. It was then that he answered with, “Oh, I’m fine, I am running for Attorney General next year.” (yes, he was smiling when he said it) You don’t say was my response.
A couple of points here.
- Dan Lederman is the head of the Republican Party for South Dakota and is manipulating the free will of the people by inserting bogus candidates into an election
process. This to me is very troubling. It is not much different from what is being unearthed today with Hillary Clinton, false dossiers, and the weaponizing of government agencies. No, not quite as bad, but it is negating the votes of citizens. Those citizens were voting for Jason and all the while, he was never going to be a United States Senator, nor did he want to be.
- To make matters worse, Mr. Lederman is not even a legal voter in South Dakota. He is running a major political party, manipulating elections and the gentleman is not even legal to do so? Yes, you read correctly, he is actually a resident voter in Iowa and to make it worse my friends, the guy is a registered Democrat in Iowa.
The only way to indeed drain the swamp my South Dakota friends is to begin by not voting for the Status Quo. Stop voting for career politicians unless they have indeed been doing a good job. In the case of the South Dakota Attorney General, I am going to support John Fitzgerald with a campaign contribution. After reviewing all of the candidates, this guy seems to be one of the only ones who is actually qualified for the position. Fitzgerald has been a States Attorney for over 3-decades, and he is tough on crime from everything I have read. He has a spotless record, is honorable and filled with integrity. This is not a political advertisement, but I suppose you could call it an endorsement. I will be formally endorsing shortly.
Take heart South Dakota; you can change the trajectory of the political corruption by simply showing up to listen, visit with and talk to these candidates. Ask the tough questions, then go vote for the one who has real-world experience and integrity.
Update February 14, 2018
It has been brought to my attention by Mr. Lederman that he is a registered voter in South Dakota. While I have not officially verified this information, I will take Mr. Lederman at his word that he registered and I do hope that he did so as a Republican as he is a representative of the GOP.