A Sad Time For South Dakota Politicians

There are certain political positions that don’t receive much publicity. Generally speaking, the person who wins these races is the one that has the greatest name recognition, particularly if they’re from the political party that’s currently in power.
It rarely has anything to do with their actual qualifications for the position. For example, while I have nothing against Gary Hanson, does he really know anything about regulating utilities? If he wasn’t the former mayor of the state’s largest city would he have had a shot in hell at winning? Doubtful.
With this in mind, one of the biggest shockers of state politics has to be the controversy over the upcoming election for state public utilities commissioner. What should have been a shoo-in for incumbent Bob Sahr turned into a controversial withdrawal from the race and a cluster-fuck of a state convention that almost led to the Governor’s brother looking for a nomination.
The story began a few weeks ago when a number of political blogs reported receiving a suspicious email regarding some sort of investigation into Sahr. What is most surprising about this case is that despite the long-running clichés of bloggers running wild with rumors and speculation nobody to my knowledge reported the contents of this email.
On the eve of the Republican convention, the Argus jumped into the act. Without any real facts, they dived headfirst into the story. For at least four straight days they reported that there were rumors of an investigation. They had no facts to report, but that didn’t stop the city’s best tabloid journalists from ruining this man’s career.
At first, Mr. Sahr rejected the quiet calls for him to take his name off the ballot but finally relented. Yet he admitted that his reason for stepping down was because of the rumors, although he denied that he had done anything wrong.
Weeks after these stories began to circulate, we still have no idea what’s going on. Is there an investigation? What are the charges? The local media is getting so desperate that I even received a couple of phone calls from a television station asking what I had heard. Now that’s desperation.
I have heard a few rumors, but I really have no idea if my sources know what they’re talking about. And if what I heard is true, I don’t see how this should make any difference in his ability to not only run for reelection but to do his job. I know very little about Mr. Sahr, but I’m extremely disappointed that he’s not fighting back. I would if I was him.
What’s most disappointing about this charade, however, is the fact that members of his own political party used a “scorch and burn” tactic against one of their own. It’s bad enough that we have these tactics are acceptable at all, but it’s very disheartening when a party brings down one of their own. As the Republican blog South Dakota War College reported on Monday, “what right did these people have in creating mayhem in the personal lives of the Sahr family? Did the saboteurs give any consideration to them?” It’s sad, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time this happens.


Anonymous said…
Yeah, makes you wonder if Bob Sahr did anything? Or if the SD GOP wanted him out? Can't imagine that, they are so friendly and never do anything sneaky or underhanded. All I heard is that he cheated on his wife, but like I said before, it's probably all made up.
Anonymous said…
i'm voting for th demorcatic candidate--Steve "Sudsy" Kolbeck!! That was his nickname back at good old Salem High School.

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