Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > A brief look at the SD 2014 race results

A brief look at the SD 2014 race results

November 5, 2014
The 2014 election season is over. I'm exhausted!

The 2014 election season is over. I’m exhausted!

The 2014 election is over! People can once again watch TV, listen to radio, get their mail, and browse the Internet again without fear of seeing or hearing constant political ads. Personally I’m ready to move on and blog about issues again, instead of elections. But I figure a brief post looking at the statewide races would be worthwhile; if for no other reason than to give closure to this election season. On the statewide races there weren’t any surprises, South Dakota will remain Red going forward.

Here are the results of each statewide race and some brief comments about them.

United States Senator

Candidate Votes Percent
Mike Rounds (R) 140722 50.38%
Rick Weiland (D) 82408 29.50%
Larry Pressler (I) 47728 17.09%
Gordon Howie (I) 8469 3.03%
TOTALS 279327 100.00%

Rounds winning really wasn’t a surprise. I was only surprised that he was able to get a majority (if only by a fraction of a percent). Over the last couple of months I’ve heard Democrats say “A vote for Pressler is a vote for Rounds”. Well, Rounds beat both Weiland and Pressler put together; and it is doubtful that the 3% of hardcore conservatives that voted for Howie would ever vote for Weiland. Plus it is doubtful all forty-seven thousand that voted for Pressler would have chosen Weiland in a two-way race. If I were the Democrat Party I would take that as a sign of an overly-progressive candidate being bad news in South Dakota. Yes, Rick was great at exciting parts of the Democrat base, but the Democrat base in South Dakota is not enough to carry a candidate. More is needed. Or actually, perhaps less is needed. The Democrat Party in SD needs to find a moderate candidate that can campaign and get a message out there that the people of SD care about.

United States Representative 

Candidate Votes Percent
Kristi Noem (R) 183797 66.54%
Corinna Robinson (D) 92438 33.46%
TOTALS 276235 100.00%

This was a race I didn’t vote in. I didn’t feel either candidate deserved a vote. What this race showed is how much support there is for a Democrat candidate with no campaign. A third of all votes is not going to get any wins for a Democrat in statewide races. So for the next two years we have Rep Noem. She has been showing improvements over the last term. Maybe she will continue to make improvements over the next two years. I doubt it, but its a nice thought…

SD Governor 

Candidate Votes Percent
Dennis Daugaard (R) 195374 70.47%
Susan Wismer (D) 70508 25.43%
Mike Myers (I) 11367 4.10%
TOTALS 277249 100.00%

The only thing that surprised me about this race is that Daugaard didn’t top 75%. Most people in SD have no reason to feel he has been doing a bad job. And Wismer was a bad candidate all around. She did not have the fire to truly take a fight to Daugaard. Her lack of campaign experience left her unprepared for a tough statewide race. The fact she couldn’t even get one third of the votes showed South Dakota did not have faith in her as a leader. As to Myers, he had some great ideas here and there. But his message was so scattered and he acted quite oddly during debates and public appearances. Myers was already at a handicap as an Independent, but he made it worse by having a disorganized and sometimes overly dramatic campaign. The big question now: is Daugaard going to expand Medicaid and raise taxes now that he is no longer seeking re-election?

SD Secretary of State

Candidate Votes Percent
Shantel Krebs (R) 155627 60.24%
Angelia Schultz (D) 84132 32.57%
Lori Stacey (C) 10253 3.97%
Emmett Reistroffer (L) 8320 3.22%
TOTALS 258332 100.00%

Those who vote anti-Republican shouldn’t feel too bad about Krebs winning this race. I think she will try over the next four years to restore respectability to the SOS office. I think Schultz was a good candidate, but not yet for statewide office. Had she won her District 3 Democrat State Senate primary against Remily I believe she would have had a good chance of being a legislator. With four years experience as a legislator I believe Schultz would have been a huge contender for statewide office (such as the SOS office) in 2018. But as it is she was not ready and didn’t have the support to put up enough of a fight. Stacey and Reistroffer simply didn’t have the resources or message to get more than a few percentage points.

Attorney General 

Candidate Votes Percent
Marty Jackley (R) 208810 82.00%
Chad Haber (L) 45826 18.00%
TOTALS 254636 100.00%

The only surprise here is that Jackley didn’t break 90%. Personally I have a lot of policy disagreements with Jackley, but he is the only one of the two candidate that were actually qualified be the AG. Haber not only isn’t a lawyer, but most of his social media memes used to create buzz for his campaign had nothing to do with the office. All Haber did in this race was give Jackley a chance to fund-raise and get ahead for a possible 2018 run at Governor.

State Auditor

Candidate Votes Percent
Steve Barnett (R) 191720 79.95%
Kurt Evans (L) 48076 20.05%
TOTALS 239796 100.00%

Evans did better in this race than I thought he would. Perhaps being on the ballot before in the US Senate race helped him. I think the real missed opportunity in this race came from the Democrat Party. This is where Susan Wismer should have been running. Even if she lost, this race would have allowed Wismer to gain some statewide campaign experience and statewide name recognition for higher office in the future. If the Dems want to have wins they need to start planning long-term.

State Treasurer 

Candidate Votes Percent
Rich Sattgast (R) 155737 61.19%
Denny Pierson (D) 85153 33.46%
Ken Santema (L) 13609 5.35%
TOTALS 254499 100.00%

I think this is a race the Democrats could have done better at if they had run it harder and put some resources into it. Instead, only the one-third that can be expected to vote Democrat gave their support to Pierson. On a personal note I would like to thank everyone that voted for me (Santema) in this race. I am very pleased with 5% running as a third-party in a three-way race. That is also three percent higher than most political junkies had given me. (this election has also taught me the value of a party in such races).

Commissioner of School and Public Lands

Candidate Votes Percent
Ryan Brunner (R) 174782 76.46%
John English (L) 53807 23.54%
TOTALS 228589 100.00%

English should be commended for getting almost one quarter of the vote. If all things were equal (money and party) I believe this would have been an interesting race. Both candidates are qualified for the office and are young enough to have the ambition that is needed in the executive branch of Pierre. That being said, I look forward to continuing working with Brunner on issues in the future. He has been very helpful as a Deputy Commissioner, and hopefully will grow into an even more helpful Commissioner.

Public Utilities Commissioner 

Candidate Votes Percent
Gary Hanson (R) 167700 65.74%
David Allen (D) 74780 29.31%
Wayne Schmidt (C) 12634 4.95%
TOTALS 255114 100.00%

I really don’t have any comments on this race. I didn’t give it much attention. Gary Hanson has been in Pierre for a long time and I think he could run for just about anything and win.

Constitutional Amendment Q – Allow the legislature to expand gambling in Deadwood

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 152220 56.69%
No 116299 43.31%
TOTALS 268519 100.00%

This was the only ballot question I voted yes on, and it was the only one I thought might not pass. It’s passage will make this next legislative session interesting. I am looking forward to the debates on the legislative floor about whether gambling will be expanded in Deadwood.

Initiated Measure 17 – Any Willing Provider

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 166353 61.81%
No 102769 38.19%
TOTALS 269122 100.00%

I actually expected this one to win with about 65% of the vote. I voted against the IM because I don’t believe it will do what was intended. So it is just another mandate causing more confusion and taking the healthcare system even further from anything resembling a free market.

Initiated Measure 18 – Minimum Wage increase indefinitely

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 150760 55.04%
No 123151 44.96%
TOTALS 273911 100.00%

This ballot question finished just about where I thought it would at 55%. I voted against it because of my belief that it will continue to decline the purchasing power for poor people. But in the end there are bigger issues (such Fed Reserve policies) that are driving purchasing power down even further. It will be interesting to see what the minimum wage increase being on auto-pilot will do.

Other notable races

Yes, I’m tired of the election. So I’m only going to make a few brief comments on some local races in SD:

  • Chuck Welke losing his District 2 Senate seat to Brock Greenfield was a nail-biter. I actually thought Welke would squeak through (possibly in recount range). Greenfield has to be feeling good today!
  • Also in District 2, I thought Natasha Noethlich would win. She was ahead for a while, but in the end Burt Tunson’s incumbency allowed him to pull off the win. I may disagree with Noethlich on many (most?) issues, but I must admit she was probably one of the hardest working candidates in NE SD this election season.
  • District 3 had an even bigger nail-biter with Dan Kaiser defending his State House seat against Burt Elliot. Elliot was ahead until the last two voting centers were counted. In this race I liked all four candidates on a personal level; but I am glad Elliot did not win. I really think the legislature would have refused to seat him in January and Daugaard would have had a legislative appointment right away.
  • The Brown County Commission race also had a surprise. Many of us expected former legislator Paul Dennert to unseat either Mike Wiese or Nancy Hansen. But instead it was newcomer Doug Fjeldheim that unseated Mike Wiese. The race was within recount range, but I don’t expect for one to be called for.

That’s a wrap on this election season!

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    November 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Our candidate, Mike Myers, did even worse than I expected.He was right on some important issues, but he was the wrong candidate and had the wrong campaign manager. Tara did him more harm than good. She harped on the wrong issues. I tried to give her some good advice, but she chose not to take it.

    Mike and Tara did major damage to the independents by getting stomped so completely. Had he gotten in the 10 to 15 percent range, they may have to take him seriously. About the only votes he got were from independents. You have to get Republican and Democrat votes to win.

    Well, it was the Democrats turn to fail this time as it was the Bush Republicans the last time and the Clinton Democrats before that….

  2. November 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Ken Santema wrote:
    >”I am very pleased with 5% running as a third-party in a three-way race.”

    Besides yesterday’s two-way races, you’re only the second South Dakota Libertarian to get more than 13,000 votes. Jim Christen got 15,631 in the 1994 PUC race, but that was only 5.16 percent of the total votes cast, in comparison to your 5.35 percent. Good show.

    >”English should be commended for getting almost one quarter of the vote. If all things were equal (money and party) I believe this would have been an interesting race. Both candidates are qualified for the office and are young enough to have the ambition that is needed in the executive branch of Pierre.”

    John is the first South Dakota Libertarian to get more than 50,000 votes. He worked extremely hard early in the campaign and definitely deserves our commendation.

    Great post, Ken.

    • November 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I’d written to Ken:
      >”Besides yesterday’s two-way races, you’re only the second South Dakota Libertarian to get more than 13,000 votes. Jim Christen got 15,631 in the 1994 PUC race, but that was only 5.16 percent of the total votes cast, in comparison to your 5.35 percent.”

      After further review, Ken, it looks like Jim Christen also got 15,852 votes (5.01 percent) for PUC in 1996, and Russell Clarke got 19,696 votes (5.67 percent) for PUC in 2012. Your 5.35 percent ranks second all-time for statewide races contested by both major parties.

  3. Anonymous
    November 10, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Someone who does not cast a vote in a coward.

    • Merlyn Schutterle
      November 11, 2014 at 7:06 am

      They who cast votes for the sake of casting votes are fools.

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