I posted this on Facebook and thought I would share it here as well.
I was sorry just now to see that Dave Kranz died. As a young political junkie in the 1990s, Kranz’s column was not to be missed. In the days before blogs, it was practically the only regular source in South Dakota for political speculation and gossip.
I first met Dave in 2000. I was a senior at Armour High School, and George Bush (41) was visiting Sioux Falls to campaign for his son for President. I wanted to attend, and the owner of the Armour Chronicle was kind enough to allow me to “cover” the event – in exchange for writing a story I got to sit in the press section. I got there early, and spent probably an hour sitting next to Dave Kranz as we waited for the event to start. (Three newspapers covered the event – the Argus Leader, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the Armour Chronicle!)
Meeting Dave in person was a thrill – perhaps as much as seeing President Bush! We talked through the various competitive State Senate races – I seem to remember the election in Mitchell between Ed Olson and Deb Fischer-Clemens was a close one. We also heard warm-up speeches by Laska Schoenfelder (who bragged about the state championship just won by her grandson, Chad Greenway), and by Gov. Bill Janklow.
After that, when I was in Sioux Falls, I would occasionally stop to see Dave and he would always take time to visit with me and talk politics. On election night 2000, the Argus Leader had three different front pages – one for each edition – as the Bush/Gore result evolved. Kranz saved a copy of each and mailed them to me.
In 2002, after my freshman year at SDSU, I went to Rapid City to work for Mike Rounds’ underdog campaign for governor. Kranz would occasionally call me looking for news – Mike had a pretty close circle of confidantes and I think Dave was struggling to break into the circle! After Mike’s upset primary win, he called me several times to chat about potential running mates for Rounds, but I was as in the dark as he was. I remember we were both surprised when Rounds picked Dennis Daugaard – me in particular because Dennis was the father of a girl I’d had my eye on since we’d met at the State Capitol the year before!
Dave and I continued to visit over the years – I know I’m one of many, many people who enjoyed chatting with him. I’ll always remember a call from him in early 2005. Kranz was working on a column about gubernatorial contenders for 2010 – more than 5 years in the future – and he wanted to know if Lt. Gov. Daugaard, by then by father-in-law, would like to be on the list. I told him that Dennis hadn’t made up his mind about running, but he wanted to discourage that kind of talk until the Rounds/Daugaard ticket was reelected in 2006. Kranz very kindly omitted Daugaard from his list of “Those who admit interest” – I attached a copy of that column from 4/12/05 to the bottom of post.
As we moved toward the 2010 campaign, I looked forward to the idea of working with Kranz as a reporter while I worked with the Daugaard campaign. Sadly it was not to be. By 2010, Dave’s career was in his twilight – if I recall, he did some work during the primary but had retired by the time the campaign heated up.
Dave Kranz’s 65th birthday was November 3, 2010 – and the day before was Election Day. I was in a suburban with Dennis and Chris Daugaard, and Matt Michels, driving from Rapid City back to Sioux Falls for election night. We called Dave to wish him a happy birthday – Dennis, Matt and I all spoke to him for a few moments. I’m sure Dave enjoyed his birthday, but we all know he enjoyed Election Day even more. As best I can recall, it is the last time we spoke.
Dave Kranz was a person who was very kind to me, from the beginning. He made an impact on me and, I know, on many other people. I’m sorry to see him go.