Dr. Annette Bosworth didn’t pack a shotgun when she joined Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa Rep. Steve King for a recent pheasant hunt.
But she packed plenty of hope.
Cruz and King could matter to Bosworth’s long-shot campaign to win the Republican U.S. Senate primary in 2014, over state Rep. Stace Nelson of Fulton and state Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center.
Oh, yeah, and there’s also that Rounds guy to consider — he of the prohibitive-favorite standing, the high name ID, the long-standing favorability and the campaign cash.
A friend of mine, admittedly a pretty strong Democrat, is wondering if the investigation into the EB-5 program and its use to attract foreign investors for Northern Plains Beef during the Mike Rounds years in the governor’s chair might change things. It certainly doesn’t help. But for now, I’m sticking with the prohibitive-favorite tag for Rounds.
Back to Bosworth, who says “I didn’t actually carry a gun” when she joined Cruz and King at a hunting lodge in Iowa. (A hunting lodge in Iowa? Since when? Hunting for what? Just teasin all you Jayhawks (whoops, I mean Hawkeyes (thanks Scooter, and Murphy)…)
Bosworth says she was invited to the hunt to talk to the two tea-party darlings about her campaign.
“They were looking for candidates for the 2014 election,” she said. “They gave me some very good suggestions. I’m going to foster that relationship.”
It couldn’t hurt, if your a hard-right conservative looking for an upset win in a strongly Republican state that tends, believe it or not, toward the middle when it comes to statewide races.
Yes, South Dakota’s political middle is farther right than the terminal ileum (I threw in a medical term for Dr. Bosworth) in a lot of states. But it is, or at least has been, to the left of Bosworth, Nelson and even Rhoden. That puts it in Rounds territory, EB-5 fuss or not.
So all three conservatives have their work ahead, which first involves separating themselves from each other as they try to knock down Rounds a peg or two. For Bosworth, separating from Nelson and Rhoden on issues is difficult. There all pretty conservative — no Common Core, no Obamacare, less government, more Second Amendment, stuff like that — although Rhoden is closer to establishment conservative in South Dakota than the other two.
Bosworth will pitch herself a doctor who has dealt with life-and-death situations and difficult decisions involving patients, family and other doctors and health-care providers. That involves a “skill set,” she says, the others don’t have, one she says could make a difference in D.C.
Skill sets are tough sells in campaigns, which are more driven by charisma, name ID , campaign cash and the occasional block-buster issue or two. Bosworth could be more effective in providing separation with the woman angle.
There ought to be more women in the largely male U.S. Senate, she says, and more in the middle of difficult decisions of national interest.
“Have you ever been on a board of all men, or a work group of all men? Then you add a woman and, not only does the behavior of the men change, the dynamic of the group changes,” she said. “The Senate is still one of the more male-dominated organizations in the country. I think there’s a stuckness in the way they stop trying ot solve problems and get stuck in their own ways.”
You could argue, of course, that there’s a fair bit of stuckness over in the House as well, but that’s for another time.
Women, and in particular Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, were instrumental in breaking the recent impasse over the budget. Bosworth points to that as an example of female influence that “navigates” through difficult issues. Of course, Collins is known for compromise, a word Bosworth avoids and teap party activists examine with skepticism.
She prefers “problem solving.”
Right now, her problem to solve is the primary, first against her fellow conservartives and later against the big political dog in the hunt, Mike Rounds. I wondered if her Sioux Falls residency would help her. Could she carry the state’s largest city, and most formidable center of election clout?
That’s a big step toward a statewide win in any year.
Bosworth was as cautious about that as she was wary about being labeled a compromiser, noting that “South Dakota is very sensitive about arrogance” from Sioux Falls.
“I think I can carry plenty of South Dakota,” she said. “I’m a voice for South Dakota that is not the status quo.”
The question is: Will the state listen to that voice? And, maybe just as important, will Ted Cruz and Steve King listen?
And what will they say if they do?