Allow me to insert a plug for friend and colleague Shantel Krebs, with whom I served in the State House and State Senate.
Thankfully, Shantel has thrown her hat in the ring to be nominated at the SD Republican Convention this week to be the Republican candidate for State Auditor.
I used the word “thankfully” and meant it. The other likely candidate’s credentials do not measure up to Shantel’s, and worse, the other candidate (Patricia Miller) has been part of the current administration of that office, under the dubious “leadership” of Jason Gant, whose track record in office has been sketchy on a number of counts.
Miller having been part of the problem, there’s little reason to think she’d be part of the solution. Indeed, the evidence we have at hand indicates that she has no intention of changing the way the Secretary of State’s office is run.
What evidence do I mean? I learned last week that there were false reports of people having endorsed Patricia Miller for the office. When complaints about that falsehood were heard, the claims apparently were withdrawn. No apology, no explanation, just pull it down and hope nobody notices.
That’s pure Gant in style and substance.
Likewise, no action has been taken on problems with Gant’s last financial reports. Bob Mercer’s Pure Politics column lays out the detail on that story. In it he comments that, “Odd that someone, whether it be the secretary of state or his deputy or one of the office employees, wouldn’t have tracked these matters down Friday and corrected them.” Suffice it to say that Miller did not step up to the plate to call for the necessary changes. Not exactly a profile in courage. Business as usual, Gant style.
The principal responsibilities of the Secretary of State’s office deal with business reporting and elections. Miller has no previous experience in either. The closest to elections experience was her previous run for State Auditor while she was the director of the State Historical Society. The report is that while she had been asked twice to resign from that office, she continued to take a salary from it while seeking the nomination during the last cycle.
By contrast, Shantel Krebs is a stickler for honesty. She is intimately knowledgeable on election law and election methods and procedures. In addition to that, Shantel, unlike Ms. Miller, has successfully operated and managed more than one business.
To the best of my knowledge, nowhere in the past have there been as many complaints from businesses about erroneous online filing, lack of confidentiality, and frankly general screw-ups as we’ve seen recently coming out of the Secretary of State’s office.
Republicans would do well to nominate someone who is in a clear position to clean up the messes in the Secretary of State’s office and restore public confidence in its competence and integrity.
If we don’t, the Democrats will.