I received a mailer today about the District 3 Senate race which pits two current legislators against each other. Al Novstrup, a Republican, is the incumbent state senator from this district. Paul Dennert, a long time legislator from District 2, is running against Sen. Novstrup due to redistricting issues. The mailer I got is supporting Paul Dennert and is paid for by the state Democratic Party
This mailer touts the Center for Public Integrity's "F" rating for South Dakota regarding corruption. This study is a load of crap. Any study that ranks New Jersey as the least corrupt state and puts California and Illinois near the top while placing South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming near the bottom is simply a joke. The study ranks states based on the existence of various bureaucracies and laws to regulate political behavior. In other words, the more complex your government the better you rank. So it makes sense that states with a history of corruption, like those mentioned above, rank high because they then have all sorts of laws and institutions in place. Places like Wyoming and the Dakotas which have relatively little history of corruption rank low because we are not overly bureaucratic. For goodness sakes, the last two governors of Illinois have been convicted of serious crimes and have done time (or will do time), but they rank higher than South Dakota?
But this is not the least of it. The mailer claims that Al Novstrup and "his friends" are responsible for this corruption. Need I remind Mr. Dennert and the South Dakota Democratic Party that Mr. Novstrup is the recipient of the 2012 South Dakota Newspaper Association's award for being a champion of open government. I don't know about his "friends" but the idea that Al Novstrup is a party to corruption is a false and scandelous accusation.
Prof. Blanchard and I interviewed both Dennert and Novstrup for our NSU TV show. I like both men and think it is a shame that either way this election goes our legislature will lose a very dedicated legislator. I have been to the cracker barrel meetings around here for over a decade now and I can honestly say that Paul Dennert and Al Novstrup are among the best informed, most articulate, and dedicated legislators in Pierre. But this mailer is beneath Paul Dennert and he needs to be called on it, as does the South Dakota Democratic Party which seems content to run down our state with bogus studies and to sully the name of a good man for mere political gain.