Sources tell The Dakota Leader a full hit-list of who to support and whom to oppose this primary, was recently circulated by Senator Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown), and sent to South Dakota political insiders with money. As reported by Joe Sneve of The Argus Leader, the hit-list is comprised of South Dakota's most conservative representatives in the State's House and Senate.
During a recent debate in Watertown, Schoenbeck alleged that Gov. Kristi Noem fully supported his efforts to rid the state of "wack-a-doodles," meaning the most conservative voices that opposed Noem's efforts to shut down the state during COVID-19. Even within the state of South Dakota, it is not widely known that a group of 29 conservatives in the house voted against Noem's bills to close the state on March 30, 2020, while the Lt. Governor, Larry Rhoden and the senate leadership drank at a nearby lobbyist's house.
"In the primary, she's (Gov. Noem) probably the greatest asset we have," Schoenbeck stated during the Watertown debate, with conservative challenger and Watertown City Council Member, Colin Paulsen. "Our oars are rowing in the same directions," Schoenbeck told the audience regarding his joint efforts with Gov. Noem to replace conservatives.
The Dakota Leader now brings readers the entire list.
Editor's note- Names outlined in red, only represent those who are known conservative incumbents in the House and Senate, running for re-election.
Gov. Kristi Noem has denied involvement, telling supporters that she is not working with Sen. Lee Schoenbeck. However, as shown in The Argus Leader article, Noem has offered candidate school seminars, made endorsements and is supporting the primary challengers to the incumbents denoted on the list in red.
While Noem's South Dakota PAC states that it is not willing to "go negative," Noem has publicly chastised Republican incumbents that have opposed her actions. Conservative Representative Fred Deutsch (R-Florence) was recently attacked by Gov. Noem, and his primary challenger Stephanie Sauder, when the two women appeared together on a radio program. Noem accused Deutsch of doing damage and being a poor legislator, while openly endorsing Sauder to replace Deutsch. Noem has also endorsed/supported Rachel Dix, the primary opponent of conservative Sen. Al Norvstrup (R-Aberdeen). Dix, who is on the board of two housing authorities, was a registered Democrat prior to filing this primary. Dix is running as a Republican, on a left-leaning "woke" platform of subsidized housing, socialized medicine, and social justice policies.
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Possibly most damning however, is Noem's refusal to publicly disavow any connection to Lee Schoenbeck's efforts, along with her endorsement of Lee's son, Jake Schoenbeck currently running for the House.
Meanwhile, Schoenbeck via his South Dakota Strong PAC, (not associated with Noem's South Dakota Strong PAC) is going negative, and attacking these same incumbents with mailers, billboards and t.v ads.
According to one South Dakota senator who has asked to remain anonymous, "everyone knows Noem and Schoenbeck are working together, you'd have to be blind not to see it."