Howie’s Pre-Bosworth Trial Accusation That Rounds Intimidated Voters Equals Yelling ‘Squirrel’ at Your Dog
If there’s one thing Americans and South Dakotans hate, it’s a sore loser. Whether sports or politics, if you get beat and it was fair and square, you graciously concede and congratulate the winning team, player or candidate.
It’s part of how America and South Dakota work. It’s part of our ethic of fair play.
Apparently, however, defeated Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth and independent Gordon Howie skipped that lesson in campaign school.
Instead, Howie says on his blog that Sen. Mike Rounds, who received over 55 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against four other opponents and then over 50 percent of the vote in the general election against three other candidates, somehow, allegedly, intimidated voters and suppressed the vote in the primary.
Never mind the election was nearly a year ago and this is the first anyone has heard of it.
Just to refresh your memories, Bosworth received just under 6 percent of the vote in the Republican primary and Howie received 3 percent of the vote in the general.
The timing of the accusations that apparently will come from the mysterious Dr. Peter Waldron, a self-proclaimed grassroots activist, who was making calls on behalf of Bosworth about a month ago, is curious. Couple that with the fact that the sketchy details are on Howie’s blog Sunday, a day before the trial begins.
The Bosworth crazy train pulls into the Hughes County Courthouse Monday, where Dr. Bosworth is charged with 12 felonies for violating the petition gathering and signature process in getting on the 2014 GOP primary ballot.
Bosworth has claimed that the prosecution of her by Attorney General Marty Jackley is politically motivated. Never mind that she hasn’t refuted the charges publicly.
Jackley is also going to be drug into this little drama as well. Bosworth’s husband Chad Haber tried to smear Jackley in the AG campaign over what was known as the Mette case and other spurious accusations. Jackley won that election with over 80 percent of the vote.
All this brings to mind an interesting question: just how does one intimidate Republican voters in a thoroughly Republican state? If the Rounds campaign did this—and I am about 99.99 percent sure they didn’t—how would you go about doing it?
There have been credible accusations of voter intimidation and vote suppression in the past on the state’s Indian reservations. But they nearly all vote Democratic. The GOP primary was not something folks in Pine Ridge and Eagle Butte were going to be voting on anyway. So cross Indian Country off your list.
So, the Rounds campaign would need such precise polling information so they would know the exact precincts where Rounds was losing and the other candidates were strong. Then they would need to recruit a group of Brown Shirts to go and intimidate non-Rounds voters there yet not scare away the pro-Rounds voters.
Then they would have to do all this so they could escape discovery from election officials, the public and the media. Finally, they would have to suppress any later reports of such intimidation from leaking to authorities or the media.
Plus, factor in that while the primary was closer than many of us thought it would be, Rounds won comfortably and knew he would win comfortably. He didn’t need to go all Nixon on us and break into the South Dakota equivalent of the Watergate Hotel.
The accusations deny common sense and how elections are conducted in South Dakota.
If you think I’m some lackey for Sen. Rounds, think again.
I’ve asked Sen. Rounds difficult questions about the EB-5 scandal over the past year and a half and have written critically about his handling of that program and his subsequent response to the scandal. I personally like Mike, but I’m no homer for him.
But unless and until someone comes up with credible, substantiated evidence of electoral wrongdoing, my assumption—and yours—should be that Rounds won the election fair and square. His was the best run and financed campaign and he was a person South Dakotans knew and liked. And he won. Big. Twice.
If you don’t like those facts, get over it and start planning your campaign for 2020 to unseat him. That’s how the political game is played.
In the meantime, while the Bosworth trial gets started this week in Pierre, this stunt is the equivalent of yelling “Squirrel!” at your dog. It gets their attention and drives them a little bit crazy. But we’re not dogs, we’re citizens and should not be so easily distracted by such fabricated Sturm und Drang.