Stace Nelson and the Republican rebels

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.

6 thoughts on “Stace Nelson and the Republican rebels

  1. The Republican uncivil war continues online.
    Mitchell’s own Steve “Sibby” Sibson, a constant thorn in the GOP establishment’s side, is very disdainful. In his blog, he wrote this about the current capitol chaos:
    “The SDGOP Establishment will not tolerate standing up to their Big Government/Big Business fascist agenda.”
    “Fascist agenda,” Steve? Really? The South Dakota Republican Party? The discussion is definitely sharp and bitter.

  2. I am a Democrat but I think it’s sad that the Republicans can’t be more inclusive. Being a moderate or even a liberal Republican (I don’t think ther is one) is not a bad thing. You might disagree with them but you should be able to hear all sides and not just have a narrow view of the world.
    Democrats might be accused of the same thing but I know we have conservative Democrats (Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin) and they have a welcome place at the table.
    I’m afraid Stace and his friends have gone too far and they have to realize that they don’t speak for the majority of Republicans.
    However they have brought up problems in the Republican party

  3. From: Representative Nelson, Stace
    Sent: Thu 1/26/2012 9:47 PM
    Subject: FW: Personal Inapprorpaite Comments on House floor during debate

    Mr. Mercer,
    In response to your emailed question: “Speaker Rausch said this afternoon that you have been reassigned to a new seat as punishment for threatening another House member Tuesday afternoon. Do you have any comment for the story?”

    Sorry for the delay. I will try and address this with as much details as possible so you can see this for what it is. I swear that the below information is the truth to the best of my knowledge and recollection:

    After several pointed personal comments towards me during debate on Tuesday, several legislators commented that it was inappropriate and that there was a concerted effort to go after everything I advocated on the House floor. Over the course of the afternoon, I talked with Hal Wick and Roger Hunt and asked them if I was overly sensitive to the comments or if it was in fact as it appeared. Both told me that some of the comments towards me were in fact not appropriate and they encouraged me to address it with the legislators or the majority leader if it could not be resolved. Later I was on the House floor enjoying some friendly conversation, joking around, and taking an opportunity to post some comments on Twitter with/about Rep. Tornow, Hansen, Kloucek, Olson, and Joshua Klumb:!/RepStaceNelson/status/161954222898814976 (5:31PM, 24Jan12)!/RepStaceNelson/status/161954918616416256 (5:33PM, 24Jan12)!/RepStaceNelson/status/161955809239105536 (5:37 PM, 24Jan12)

    About ten minutes after the last picture/post, at about 5:47, I noticed that Rep. Moser had came back on the floor. Taking Wick & Hunt’s advice I thought to try and resolve the issue at the lowest level and avoid any future issues by discussing it with Moser. I said “excuse me Rep. Moser, do you have a moment?” He said he did and I told him that I was hoping that we could discuss the debate today, that I felt some of his comments were pointed personal attacks, that I was offended and hurt and I was hoping to resolve the issue civility. Right away he derisively demanded I specifically recount exactly what he said and I replied that I do not have a photographic memory and that I could not dictate exactly what he said, that if we could simply avoid such things in the future it would be appreciated. He again demanded to know what specifically he said, I said I didn’t want to get into the nanoweeds on it but if needed to if he would simply consider reviewing his comments of the day, and if he confirmed that they were pointed personal comments to avoid doing so again in the future. He then launched into comments that I offend him and that I made a personal attack against him during the debate when I mentioned the Republic Party Platform plank on lowering taxes. He alluded to the past report card put out on him by voters as my report card on him and said I offend him because he said that I believe I am the expert on all that is Republican and started going off on the issue. I explained that I have never stated that or wrote that and that it was his errant opinion. He was continuing to go off on a tangent on the issue, repeating his comments that I am offensive to him, that I don’t know what I am talking about on being a Republican, etc. I realized it was a lost cause, and I had already put up with a sufficient amount of his arrogant tirade so continued to move away and told him “maybe we can talk someday when you finally get your big boy pants on.” After I made that comment, he said something to the effect of “oh that’s real civil, you idiot” and more. When he initially started becoming animated, I moved away from him and there were several chairs between us. As he got more animated, I increased the distance. By that time I was almost at my seat, on the front side of Jim Bolin’s desk, and he was standing behind his desk, when I turned looked at him and said “you’re a dumbass.” Stop the personal attacks in debates or I will return the favor during debates and eat you alive on the floor.” I turned and sit down at my desk. That is the extent of my conversation with Rep. Moser and that is what they are trying to claim is a threat. While I am not proud of stooping to the level of this arrogant young man, I sure the heck never threatened him nor did I act in a threatening fashion. Other than my last comments to him, my voice was conversational. Rep. Romkema & I believe Rep. White were nearby, and probably heard the last ugly parts of the exchange. The other the folks I mentioned above were I believe still on the floor. The whole conversation lasted a couple minutes at best. Compared to other comments I am aware others have made, and that has been complained to leadership on another legislator, our exchange pales in comparison.

    Within a couple minutes of sitting down, I opened my lap top, turned it on, got into the email, drafted the below email, and sent it. I then went back up front and talked with Rep. Tornow & Hansen. I asked them if they heard any of my conversation with Moser and they said they had not. I told them I had tried to talk with Moser but he turned it into an argument and it didn’t work out. I shared the comment to them that I made to Rep. Moser about us talking more when he got his big boy pants on.

    There is a proper due process for handling complaints in Chapter 6 There is a reason when someone departs from that process either to improperly convict someone or to acquit themselves. Please note that the Speaker does not have the authority to “punish” anyone. House rules chapter 6 is clear on how ANY complaints of misconduct are to be handled and that it is the House body that decides if a member should be punished, not the Speaker of the House or Majority Leader.

    Please note that Joint rules 1-4 & 1-5 indicate that it is NOT the speaker’s discretion to keep members from speaking on the House floor. He also violated this rule with Rep. Kloucek during ’11’s final appropriation’s bill.

    I would ask you to review this with the an educated eye and remember that Rausch did admit during the recent hearing that he was aware of the charges for months and notice the similarities to his current professed intent to remove me from judiciary as punishment:

    Of note, Russ Olson told the Senate Republican Caucus at 1:00 sharp yesterday that Russel and myself were kicked out of caucus, the news was given to lobbyists, etc,. as you noted, and someone spread the untrue rumor that I was in a meeting this morning with Rausch and was heard hollering. Hope you can see all of this for what it is. If I can be of service, you got my contact information.

    God bless.
    Stace N.


    From: Representative Nelson, Stace
    Sent: Tue 1/24/2012 5:56 PM
    To: Representative Lust, David
    Subject: Personal Inapprorpaite Comments on House floor during debate

    Rep. Lust,
    There were several pointed ugly untrue comments made towards me on the House floor today (“self-serving,” etc) by Rep. Moser, Abdallah, and Turbiville. It was my understanding that such things were inappropriate, yet nothing was done to reign it in. While some may have taken my comment about the GOP platform personally, it was not directed at anyone and simply cited the platform.

    I attempted to discuss this matter civilly with Rep. Moser just now semi-privately and it degraded to angry comments. I would appreciate it if the matter was addressed in general terms and people reminded to avoid such personal attacks.

    God bless & Semper Fidelis.

    Respectfully, your public servant,

    Stace Nelson
    Representative, District 25 (Hanson, McCook, Northern & Western Minnehaha Counties)
    South Dakota House of Representatives

    South Dakota State Motto: “Under God The People Rule”

  4. How utterly hypocritical. Kirkeby sends out 2 nasty,hateful,e-mails to other legislators in early Jan. and nothing happens. Moser,Abdallah,and Turbiville personally attack Nelson on the House floor and are not reprimanded. Nelson takes the initiative to try to clear things up and he not only gets kicked out of caucus,but gets his seat moved,and is not allowed to speak on the floor. Abdallah has been a rude potty-mouth for years and others think its funny. The difference is they are members or friends of the House leadership clique.(Abdallah and Turbiville are members of the “e-board” that refused to recognize or acknowledge anything happened last session as suggested by Russell and Nelson). “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

  5. Stace is a gentle giant. I would vote for him in a heart beat. I don’t agree with him all the time but at least he is true to what he believes.

    Anyone who believes what leadership is saying is drinking koolaid.

    Anyone who thinks that Nelson is right by his over the top actions needs to take a breath.

    Both sides are doing a poor job of fixing this rift. Leadership looks terrible and Nelson might be hurting himself because he has become the issue instead of his causes.

    Leadership does need to act like leadership or else hand over the reigns to someone who knows how to be a true leader.

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