South Dakota U.S. Senate Race: A Story in Signs

Stace_Nelson_signI drove across almost all of South Dakota (via I-90) a week ago, and drove back across most of South Dakota again yesterday.  As one travels across I-90 in South Dakota, there isn’t a whole lot to look at. It’s some of the most empty and wide-open territory I’ve ever traveled through.  That “elbow room” is one of the things I love about South Dakota.  And it leaves a lot of time for noticing “the little things” along the way.

During my recent trip, I noticed something interesting about the political signs for South Dakota’s U.S. Senate race.

Political signs certainly don’t tell the entire story of a campaign.  After all, any slug can print off a sign, and any slug can find places to put those signs.  But when something about those signs stands out, it certainly tells a story.

What I noticed driving east from Rapid City to Sioux Falls and down to Sioux City (where the border with Iowa runs) last week was that while Stace Nelson had about a dozen east-bound campaign signs along the way, I only saw one other sign from one other campaign: Annette Bosworth’s campaign, and it was in the west-bound lane.

Coming back west yesterday, I noticed about another dozen west-bound signs for Stace Nelson.  I also noticed Bosworth’s lone sign, still in that west-bound lane.  I also noticed two other signs in the west-bound lane near Sioux Falls (that I didn’t notice when I made that same trip about 8 months ago).  There were two Mike Rounds signs, not too far apart, and they were bland and uninspiring–much like the candidate they advertised. Nothing like Stace Nelson’s patriotic South Dakota-shaped American flag-inspired star and bars. At least Annette Bosworth’s sign, though simple, was a bright red that stood out.

What can I surmise from the political signs along South Dakota’s most traveled corridor?  One might be tempted to surmise that Stace Nelson has the most money available to create and place signs…but with all the lawyers and lobbyists, and the do-nothing national GOP establishment, and special interests pouring money from around the country into RINO Mike Rounds’ campaign, this certainly isn’t the case.  What I can safely surmise is that Stace Nelson (and perhaps his supporters, too) seems the most “hungry” for the job, the most dedicated to getting the candidate’s message out, and since people usually have to give permission for these signs to be placed on their private property, Stace Nelson seems to have the most people willing if not eager to help him broadcast his campaign.

Woodrow Wilcox


That story says a lot…as do the records of the top two contenders: Stace Nelson and Mike Rounds.


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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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