Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > SD 2014: District 1 is blue, no general election for legislative races

SD 2014: District 1 is blue, no general election for legislative races

September 26, 2014
South Dakota Legislative District 1

South Dakota Legislative District 1

This will be the first in a series of thirty-five posts looking at the SD legislative races going into Election Day 2014. To start the series I will look at District 1. This district is a very blue district, no Republicans were even found to run for a legislative seat. The district includes Day, Marshall, and Roberts counties; plus a weird N-NW portion of Brown County. Actually if you know where Dennis Feickert lives you will notice how the 2010 redistricting happened to put him in District 1, where he used to be in District 3. Some have said the odd shape of District 1 in Brown county has more to do with putting him in that blue district as part of the redistricting game.

Back in May I looked at the Primary election in District 1. Since all legislative candidates in District 1 were Democrat, there will be no general election for the legislative races. Here is the current status of District 1 going into the 2015 Legislative Session:

District 1 State Senator: Jason Frerichs

Jason Frerichs is the current Democrat Minority Leader in the State Senate. He sailed through the Primary Election and now the General Election with no opposition. During the 2014 legislative session he seemed to do a pretty good job keeping focused on some standard Democrat stances such as Medicaid expansion. If I were a Democrat (which I’m not), I would say he is doing a pretty good job in Pierre.

This previous legislative session he was State Senate prime-sponsor for House Concurrent Resolution 1017 (HCR 1017). If passed, HCR 1017 would have urged Congress and various federal agencies to “recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity”. I’ve spoken with many farmers around the NE portion of the state that would love the option to include industrial hemp in their options of crops to produce. Hopefully Frerichs will try again in 2015, his being a farmer helps to reinforce that the agricultural industry would benefit from allowing the production of industrial hemp.

Really the only thing that outright annoys me about Frerichs is the fact he had no Primary or General Election opposition in 2014. And that isn’t his fault, there just wasn’t anyone in District 1 stepping up to oppose him.

District 1 State Representatives: Dennis Feickert & Steven McCleerey

The House seat did have a Primary Election. Feickert won his re-election easily with 1,638 votes. Sisseton area farmer Steven McCleerey easily won the second seat with 1,350 votes. The third person in the race, Dustina Gill, did a lot of work traveling the district trying to get votes. But from the feedback I’ve heard in the district,  she just wasn’t that good at actually engaging people. If Gill runs again she might want to re-evaluate how she interacts with potential voters. A lot of interactions can backfire if not done properly.

One thing worth noting about District 1 is that all three legislators fall in the farm/ranch category. I don’t think the average farmer in District 1 can say they aren’t well represented in Pierre!

  1. Drew Dennert
    September 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    It will be interesting to see what Susan Wismer will do with her political future, it looks like she is headed for a loss of somewhere between 20%-30% to Governor Daugaard this fall. My guess is that with Feickert now term limited she will attempt a run for the State House once again.

    If she does indeed seek a District 1 House seat the Republicans will need to capitalize. Wismer has a series of bad votes that go against a majority of voters in the district, like voting for increased gun control which is very unpopular with the rural farmers and ranchers. And is probably not even a winning issue in Roberts county and on the reservation.

    Another vote she has that would be very unpopular with ranchers in the district is her support of HB 1089 in 2013.

    HB 1089 would have made East river a brand inspection area (Under current law west river is a brand inspection area, and east river is not.) HB 1089 was indeed very popular with ranchers west river, but equally as unpopular east river. If ranchers in District 1 found out about her support for a statewide brand inspection law she would certainly lose votes over it.

    District 1 does have strong democrat leanings but voter registration numbers have been shifting Republican over the past 6 years. A strong Republican candidate could probably win! Lets hope for a little more competition in District 1 in 2016.

    • September 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      I could see Wismer trying to return in 2016 to retake her seat. You might be right that it would be a good chance for a Republican to take the seat back at that time. Actually I think this year would have been a good time. But unfortunately Dist 1 just didn’t have a conservative to run this year.

      • Drew Dennert
        September 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm

        Yes I think that a strong Republican could’ve possibly beat McCleerey, although it wouldn’t have been easy he seems like a fairly strong candidate. But who knows, it probably would’ve been close!

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