It may sound hard to believe, but there are people who don’t think the South Dakota Republican Party, and South Dakota state government, is truly conservative.
What’s even more interesting is that the people saying that are registered and practicing Republicans.
Like Stace Nelson. The Fulton state representative has been blasting his fellow GOPers for months now, along with fellow conservatives who feel the SD Republican Party is too moderate, too chummy with Democrats and state officials, too out of step with the mainstream of the party.
But Nelson is not the kind of guy who makes his point quietly. A 6-7, 300-pound, tough-talking, target-shooting former Marine (although Marines say there is no such thing), Nelson has been expelled from the legislative Republican caucus and his desk was shifted after it was reported he had talked harshly, if not physically threatened, a fellow Republican legislator this week.
Nelson has been battling the South Dakota GOP establishment for months and the fight heated up this week. Fellow legislator Lance Russell was also tossed out of the caucus, but he rarely attended the sessions anyway, we are told.
Nelson truly believes he represents the thoughts and views of most SD Republicans. He and his fellow conservatives feel Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Speaker of the House Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City, and other GOP powers are not fully representing the party.
After Nelson’s reported outburst, Highway Patrol troopers roamed the capitol Thursday, trying to keep things calm. Rausch was accompanied by a personal guard.
Are things out of hand in Pierre? Has Stace gone too far this time?
Will the GOP work to recruit a candidate to oppose him this fall? And will bulletproof vests and armed guards become common sights on the floor of South Dakota’s statehouse?
As you can see below, Nelson offered a long explanation of how he feels things unfolded. This has been simmering for months and has now come to a boil. There is surely more to come.