Yesterday's primaries confirmed each party's nominees for governor and United States Senate but created a few new questions. Here are mine
1. Will Democratic nominee Susan Wismer actually campaign? The better question may be can she actually campaign? Primaries should have a natural side-effect of creating a campaign message, energizing volunteers, and developing a get out the vote organization. Getting 55% of the 11% of Democrats and Independents who voted is hardly evidence that she or her people have done any of those things.
2. Will Gordon Howie keep Stace Nelson's 17% and can he get some of the Larry Rhoden's West River support in November? If so, the U.S. Senate race just got much more exciting.
3.Do campaigns matter? Lowe ran a far more effective public campaign that Wismer. Nelson seemed to have a better grassroots effort than Rhoden. (The latter impression is based only on East River travel and conversation.) Neither of the campaigns produced a victory, actual or perceived. Nelson's third place finish has to be seen as a loss.
4. Do enough people remember Larry Pressler to make him a factor in the U.S. Senate race?
5. Will Mike Myers stop doing push ups and develop a campaign message that gets him into double digits?
6. Can Susan Wismer take and deliver a punch? She seems to be a competent businesswoman and a good parent. (Her daughter is very polite to me on Twitter.) Those qualities, however, do not win elections. Lowe's attacks were issue based and relatively mild, so she really hasn't been tested. Further, she never responded, so it's unclear that she can hit back.
7. Rounds, Daugaard, and Noem either have enough cash or have sources that can flood their campaigns with cash; will any of their Democratic or Independent candidates be able to raise enough money to keep one of the races competitive?
8. Will the Democrats pick up seats in the legislature?
9. Can the Democrats win at least one of the statewide elections?
10. In the answer to both questions 7 and 8 is no, will the Democrats do anything to change or will they continue to cede power to Republicans and Tea Partiers?
I've left off the obvious question about Susan Wismer's running mate. Suffice it to say, it will not be any of the Democratic party's leading lights: Brendan Johnson, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, or Bernie Hunhoff. Also, it won't be a unity ticket with Joe Lowe.