Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > South Dakota will likely remain very red after the general election

South Dakota will likely remain very red after the general election

July 1, 2014

chriswww_red_pillNow that all South Dakota political parties have finished their conventions its time to see what statewide races are actually going to happen this fall. I posted previously about the results of the SD Republican Convention and SD Constitution Party Convention. The SD Libertarian Party seems to have disappeared, so there will be not post about that. And he SD Democrat Party seemed to have so very little news come out of it that I won’t bother with a post about it; instead I will count this as my post to relay the announced candidates from their convention.

This post is focused purely on the SD constitutional offices. The federal election races are a different topic; the US Senate race leaves some of us with no choices and the US House race is going basically unopposed.

Below is the current list of constitutional offices and the candidates running for them in South Dakota this fall. Spoiler alert: it will be a very red election!

South Dakota Governor – Currently held by Republican Dennis Daugaard

This race has three entries: Incumbent Republican Dennis Daugaard, Independent Mike Myers, and Democrat Susan Wismer. In this race I like Mike Myers because he has some libertarian-leaning views. Yet he will be unlikely to actually gain a lot of traction. It could be said though that Myers is a better candidate than the super-meek Democrat Susan Wismer. Daugaard should be happy about the fact he simply doesn’t have strong competition.

More interesting than the governor’s race is the recent announcements about the Lieutenant Governor choices. There have been persistent rumors about Daugaards running-mate Matt Michels wanting to get out of the race; and that he will resign next year after Daugaard starts his second term, this allowing Daugaard to appoint a replacement. I’ve been assured by sources close to the Daugaard campaign that this isn’t true on any level. Yet the rumors continue to persist. I think the persistence of these rumors show how boring this race really is, it causes people to try to find excitement that really isn’t there.

The running-mate for Independent candidate Mike Myers appears to have dropped out of the race. This means Myers will have to choose a new Lieutenant Governor to run alongside him. It’s not a good sign when changes are being made at this point in the campaign.

And finally Democrat Candidate announced her running-mate would be former legislator Susan Blake. I wonder if this was a good choice for many reason. But my main reason for questioning this choice has to do with Wismer herself. I’ve seen Wismer speak many times. She often touts how hard it is to get things done as a Democrat in the SD Legislature. She almost makes it seem like she is able to do little or nothing while there. Now Wismer brings on a running-mate that she touts has actually been able to pass major legislation while serving in Pierre. By that standard it appears Blake was more effective as a legislator than Wismer has been. On paper it would almost seem the Democrats chose the wrong Susan to run for Governor.

In November it is hard to see any route that doesn’t lead to a Daugard/Michels victory. This office will remain red.

South Dakota Secretary of State – Currently vacated by Republican Jason Gant

This is the one race Democrats have a chance of winning. The race has Shantel Krebs for the Republican Party, Angelia Schultz for the Democrat Party, and Lori Stacey for the Constitution Party. I don’t see Stacey picking up much traction this election. Instead it will be up to Schultz to try leading the Democrats to a win. That will be a tough battle though, since the SDDP doesn’t have the money needed to compete.

Right now I give this office odds of being red in November with a win from Krebs, unless Schultz is really able to pick up steam.

South Dakota Attorney General – Currently held by Republican Marty Jackley

Congratulations Jackley! No opposition. This is a race the Dems should have found a Lawyer to enter… but apparently couldn’t. This office will remain red.

South Dakota Treasurer – Currently held by Republican Richard Sattgast

The Democrat Party has Dennis Pierson to run against Sattgast for Treasurer. Pierson recently lost a bid for Sioux Falls City Council, and hasn’t been in the legislature since 1994. I guess we will see if the Person is going to be able to mount a campaign against Sattgast.

At this time it is hard to see Sattgast being defeated by Pierson. For that reason I give this office odds of staying red.

South Dakota State Auditor – Currently held by Republican Steve Barnett

Congratulations Barnett! No opposition. When I said that Democrats should put Schultz in the SOS race instead of the Auditor race I thought they would find someone else for this race. I guess I was wrong. By default this office will remain red.

South Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands – Currently held by Vern Larson (appointed by Daugaard and not seeking re-election)

Congratulations to Republican Ryan Brunner! No Opposition. I actually like Brunner in this position. But I hate the fact the Dems couldn’t even run someone against him. By default this office remains red.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission – Currently held by Republican Gary Hanson

This is the other race that actually has three candidates: Republican incumbent Gary Hanson, Constitution Party candidate Wayne Schmidt, and Democrat candidate David Allen. Gary Hanson is an experienced statesman and it will be hard for either of the other candidate to point out anything Hanson has done wrong. Unless something changes in the next few months I have to give strong odds that this office will remain red.

PS. Now I can’t get this classic Sammy Hagar song out of my head:

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    July 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    The only way for things to change is to elect Mike. The Republicans are not going to vote for a Democrat no matter what. If the Democrats want a change, they need to get real. Their governor candidate should withdraw. Will they do that? Hell no. That will guarantee a Republican win. To think, whatever her name is, can win is stupid. I know how they should take Daugaard on, but hey won’t listen to me. They can’t win on the issues. Hubble proved that. Unless Mike can get Daugaard in a corner, he will go down in flames too.

    If Mike could find ten faithful followers, I will tell him how to do it. He isn’t going to listen to me anymore than Stephie did against Jankow, or Chris Nelson did in the primary.They lost.

    I’m still waiting to hear Tara’s strategy to overcome the advantages that Daugaard has. I don’t know what Mike’s is either. The “issues” are irrelevant. You have to catch them with their hand in the cookie jar. I know Daugaard’s hand is in it. All that needs to happen is somebody to call him on it.

  2. Donkey Hunter
    July 2, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Is Ron Volesky the only Democrat attorney in South Dakota?

    • July 2, 2014 at 10:26 am

      I wonder the same myself sometimes. I do know a local lawyer who also happens to be a Democrat. He said he would never run for AG unless the SDDP actually started to win offices.

  3. Individualist
    July 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

    My prediction for the SOS race is that Angelia Schultz is a decent candidate on paper with a knack for bad political instincts and timing.

    She will lose handily to Krebs.

    I’m using the results from the 2010 SOS race and the race for PUC in 2012 with Kristie Fiegen as my guide.

    Non Presidential (2010)
    Jason Gant 54.2% 163,828
    Ben Nesselhuf 39.2% 118,635
    Lori Stacey 6.6% 19,971
    Total Votes 302,434

    Presidential year (2012)
    Matt McGovern 40.4% 140,443
    Kristie Fiegen 53.9% 187,383
    Russell Clarke 5.7% 19,696
    Total Votes 347,522

    Libertarian/Constitution candidates are going to get their 20,000 votes no matter what. Democrats are likely to get somewhere between 38-40%. I felt Matt McGovern ran a much better campaign for PUC than Fiegen did but Fiegen was more ideologically aligned with SD voters and she had the entire GOP apparatus helping her get her materials out. So while McGovern ran a better individual campaign the SD GOP is a bigger more active statewide organization that helps make up for candidates shortcomings.

    The main problem for Schultz will be a lack of money, a disastrous SDDP, the fact that Shantel Krebs is a much more experienced and polished candidate than Gant or Fiegen were (or are), political climate and the fact that Angelia has not shown herself to be a candidate that knows how to win races while Krebs has never lost and will work very hard.

    • July 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I agree with your assessment. I think Schultz can match Nesselhuf’s 39%. But the lack of money and the disastrous SDDP will be a recurring theme for many Dem candidates in SD this year. It’s too bad. Ideologically I still align more with the SDGOP than the SDDP. But I just dread the fact the SDDP can’t be competitive and make SDGOP candidates actually work for their votes. Just seems to make the whole process seem less accountable.

      • Individualist
        July 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm

        One party domination is not a good thing in any form of government. It cheapens the process and allows for a higher percentage of poor legislation.

        Don’t get me wrong I want Republicans to win but races should be contested and competitive.

        Having one party rule allows the powerful executive branch take the legislature for granted and allows the party in power to cast aside dissenting voices too easily because there isn’t a need for negotiating.

        I think we saw the problems of one party rule with Obamacare on the national level and with HB1234 (education) on the local level.

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