SHS is history … at SDSU, that is

Republicans have wanted to hear for years that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was history.

Monday night, she gave them their wish. Sorta.

Herseth Sandlin gave a Harding Lecture at SDSU Monday night and before she gave the speech she met with the media. The former Democratic congresswoman also announced she will teach a few classes at the SDSU History and Political Science Department.

She has a wealth of knowledge on both and will be able to provide a personal perspective on recent American political history, since she served more than six years in Congress while Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were in office.

Another prominent person in South Dakota politics also has a tie to the SDSU History and Political Science Department. Jon Lauck, senior adviser/counsel to Sen. John Thune, D-S.D., was a professor at the department a few years back.

Lauck said they were colleagues at the department during the 2003-04 school year, their offices just down the hall from each other. He said he told her she would run the state’s House seat in 2004 (she had lost to Bill Janklow in her first bid for office in 2002). Lauck said he also told SHS that Thune would defeat Tom Daschle for the Senate seat.

He was right on both counts, if can trust a political operative to tell the truth. I do, since he’s also a good historian. His book “Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889,” is an excellent account of the shaping of early South Dakota.

I have swapped a few stories about the department with Lauck, since I majored in history at SDSU. It’s nice to see the denizens of Scobey Hall get some time in the spotlight. Most of the students who studied there went on to successful, solid careers, unlike some who were sidetracked into newspaper and online scribbling.

SHS’s 2010 election opponent, Rep. Kristi Noem, also made some news Tuesday. Noem announced she has had a very successful start to raising cash for her 2012 campaign.

According to a press release, Noem said her campaign raised more money in the first quarter of 2011 than any other previous South Dakota incumbent member of the House of Representatives in any quarter of a non-election year. Noem raised $396,099 in the first quarter of 2011 and reported $316,364 cash on hand.

“South Dakotans continue to step up and invest in our effort because they believe in the work we are trying to accomplish,” said Noem.

Noem raised $222,549 of her funds from individual contributors.

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