Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wick says he’s only taking time off

Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, is the last active legislator to have served during the time of a Democratic governor. That would have been Wick’s first term in 1977-78, when Gov. Dick Kneip was in the years of his third and final term. Hal, who’s now 69, didn’t file for re-election last week. He said Monday that doesn’t mean he’s done, however. He said he and his wife want to move into a smaller home and so he’ll be focused on getting their house sold. He also wants to sell his car wash in Mitchell. So he’s taking a break of at least one term and possibly two.

He might be one of a kind as South Dakota legislators go. He served 20 years in the House of Representatives through five different decades: 1977-1980; 1995-1998; 2001-2008; and 2011-2014.

One of those elections was won in the House. That was in 1997, when Democrat John McIntyre was unofficially ahead on election night 4,195-4,191. The recount put Wick up 4,192-4,191. The state Supreme Court invalidated one ballot for Wick, putting the contest in a tie. (The state elections office now lists the results as 4,191-4,191.) The House voted to seat Wick rather than McIntyre on a 46-20 vote.

In the 1998 election, Wick and McIntyre tied for second place, each with 3,219 votes (behind Rost again). The recount put McIntyre ahead 3,219-3,215. The matter came before the entire House again. This time, House members voted 36-33 for McIntyre over Wick. In 2000, McIntyre ran for the Senate and defeated Rep. Bill Earley, R-Sioux Falls, for an open seat. Wick meanwhile ran again for the House and was elected.

On Monday, after adjournment, Hal Wick with his seemingly ever-present coffee cup chatted with Sen. Shantel Krebs, R-Renner, who’s running for the Republican nomination for secretary of state. That’s when this picture was taken:



Why did the Legislature need to meet? w/2d update

The Legislature gathered this morning on its final scheduled day of the 2014 regular session. The only business at hand was to adjourn from the 2014 session. I went looking through the state constitution trying to find a requirement that the Legislature adjourn. I asked a variety of folks about it. So far, nothing.

Can someone point me to it?

UPDATE: Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, points to the requirement that legislation becomes law 90 days after adjournment, unless passed with an emergency clause. Under that analysis, legislation couldn’t become law without an emergency clause or without adjournment.

2nd UPDATE: A long-time lobbyist and former long-time state official takes a different view and points to the various references in the executive article of the state constitution, specifically the veto powers section (Art. IV, Sect. 4), where are several statements about when a bill becomes law. All of those statements deal with the governor’s signature, lack of signature or veto, and the time frames for those. All use the phrase “shall become law” in them.

Governor names two to Board of Technical Professions

The state Board of Technical Professions gets two new members come mid-April. Michael Albertson of Rapid City and John Peters of Spearfish received appointments from Gov. Dennis Daugaard. They succeed Hani Shafai of Rapid City and Randy Bacon of Aberdeen. The governor also reappointed Dennis Micko of Estelline and Jeffrey Nelson of Crooks. Bacon originally was appointed in 2005 by then-Gov. Mike Rounds. Shafai originally was appointed in 2002 by then-Gov. Bill Janklow. State law requires two professional engineers, two land surveyors, two architects and one member of the public on the board. State law now sets a three-term limit. The terms were changed to three years in 2005. They previously were four years.

Water development district is battleground

The West Dakota Water Development District is bursting with candidates all of a sudden. The Rapid City-based organization has a nine-member board and six seats are up for election this year. All six are contested. Something is shaking here. No other water district has this kind of political activity this campaign season.

Ken Moss is challenging incumbent J. Foster Sawyer.

Orland Paulsen isn’t seeking re-election and there are four candidates for the open slot: Darren Clabo, James Hawke, Tim Kretschmar and Mike Mueller.

Incumbent Robert Akers has two opponents, Tina Mulally and Dan Reitz.

Ken Steinken is challenging incumbent Kenneth Jasper.

Jeanette Deurloo is challenging incumbent Steve Hasenohrl.

And Jerome Button is challenging incumbent Tim Rogers.

(All candidates are from Rapid City, except for Reitz from Box Elder.)

Some primaries coming for county offices? A lot!

We’ve been focused of late on legislative candidates. This morning we turn to county courthouse contests. There are some primaries ahead. We’ll look first at treasurers. Two Republicans want the nomination in Walworth County: Nyla Moak and Gregory Pudwill, each from rural Selby. There isn’t a Democrat filed.

Then there are auditor contests. Bon Homme County has two Republicans running, Tamara Brunken and Jenn Knoll, each of Springfield, and no Democrat. Custer County has two Republicans running, Charita Brunner and Nancy Jean Christensen, each of Edgemont, and no Democrat. Haakon County has two Republicans running, Jennifer Neville of Philip and Carla Smith of Milesville, and no Democrat. Hand County has two Republicans running, Sandra Selting and Nehemia Volquardsen, each of Miller, and no Democrat. McPherson County has two Republicans running, Valerie Geffre and Jennifer Guthmiller, each of Leola, and no Democrat.Meade County has two Republicans running, Tracy Kaltvedt of Piedmont and Lisa Schieffer of Sturgis, and no Democrat. Pennington County has two Republicans running, Julie Pearson and John Roberts, each of Rapid City, and no Democrat. Stanley County might take the prize with three Republicans running — Phil Edwards, Dawn Sass and Karen Sharp, each of Fort Pierre — and no Democrat. Sully County has two Republicans running, Susan Lamb and Sarah Severson, each of Onida, and no Democrat. Tripp County has two Republicans running, Barb DeSersa and Kathy Klein, each of Winner, and no Democrat.

See a pattern?

For register of deeds, Codington County has two Republicans running, Roberta Hagen and Ann Rasmussen, who live about two blocks apart in Watertown, and no Democrat. Corson County has two Republicans running, Diane Anderson of Walker and Nellie Edinger of McIntosh, and no Democrat. Deuel County has three Democrats running — Jen Mewherter of Clear Lake, Tami Parker of Clear Lake and Barb Sonnenburg of Estelline — and Republican Casey Mette-Severson of Gary. Hand County has two Republicans running, DeAnn Hargens and Suzy Wernsmann, each of Miller, and no Democrat. Harding County has two Republicans running, Sue Litzel and Lila Teigen, each of Buffalo and no Democrat. Meade County has two Republicans running, Lana Anderson and Rhea Crane, each of Sturgis, and Democrat Denise Deaver of Sturgis. Pennington County has two Republicans, Jordan Mason and Donna Mayer, each of Rapid City and no Democrat.

I will need to go back and look at the 2012 filings to see whether so much competition — and so intently focused among Republicans — is new. There are more primaries for these three sets of courthouse races — and I haven’t even touched county commission and sheriff yet — than there is same-party competition for legislative seats. Of course, courthouse posts pay better than $6,000 and expenses that legislators get, and you don’t have to spend most of three months in Pierre every winter.


Voters have choices in 2/3 of state Senate elections

After Wednesday’s mail-in filings, there is at least one candidate for election in all 35 of South Dakota’s legislative districts. The 35th was Democratic Sen. Angie Buhl O’Donnell of Sioux Falls in District 15. She is one of 12 Senate candidates who don’t have opponents at this point. The others are Democrats Jason Frerichs of Wilmot in 1; Rep. Jim Peterson of Revillo in 4; Billie Sutton of Burke in 21; and Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge in 27; and Republicans Bill Van Gerpen of Tyndall in 19; Corey Brown of Gettysburg in 23; Bruce Rampelberg of Rapid City in 30; Bob Ewing of Spearfish in 31; Alan Solano of Rapid City in 32; Craig Tieszen of Rapid City in 34; and Terri Haverly of Rapid City in 35.

All but Peterson and Haverly are incumbents. Peterson currently serves in the state House of Representatives and previously was the district’s senator prior to a one-term break in 2011-2012. Haverly is married to the district’s previous senator, Republican Jeff Haverly, and the incumbent, Republican Mark Kirkeby of Rapid City, isn’t a candidate for re-election.

The Democrats also haven’t fielded a candidate for Senate in District 29, where three Republicans will compete in a June primary election to succeed Republican Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center, who’s running for the U.S. Senate. Those three are Rep. Gary Cammack of Union Center, Susan Cheshier of Newell and LeRoy Kindler of Newell.

There is a possibility more candidates might have petitions arrive by registered mail today or Friday for certification by the secretary of state. And there is the possibility that independent candidates might still file. But at this point, the voters in 12 districts don’t have any choices for Senate. And Democrats and independents won’t have any choice in a 13th district where there is a Republican-only primary.

That makes the count for the Senate at this point Democrats 4 and Republicans 9. The current mix is Democrats 7 and Republicans 29.

At this point there will be one Democratic primary and four Republican primaries for Senate nominations.

The Democratic contest is in District 3 covering the Aberdeen area, where Mark Emily and Angelia Schultz are competing to face Republican Rep. David Novstrup. The current senator, Republican Al Novstrup, is attempting to switch places with his son, who is term-limited after eight years in the House.

The four Republican primaries involve two open seats — the Rhoden seat in District 29 and the seat now held by Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff of Yankton in District 18 — and two conservative incumbents.

Hunhoff is term-limited after eight consecutive years in the Senate and is running for a House seat. Her brother-in-law is attempting to switch to the Senate. He is House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton. Two Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination in a June primary. They are Thomas Bixler and Matt Stone, both of Yankton.

In District 24, Republican Sen. Jeff Monroe of Pierre faces a primary challenge from former Rep. Tad Perry of Fort Pierre, who’s worked hard to increase his stature among local Republicans by serving as Stanley County GOP chairman. Monroe edged Perry in the 2012 primary. The winner faces Democrat Ruth Rehn of Pierre.

In District 33, Republican Sen. Phil Jensen of Rapid City faces a challenge in the Republican primary from David Johnson of Rapid City. The winner meets Democrat Haven Stuck of Rapid City in the general election.

I’m still sorting out the House contests. The House districts follow the boundaries of the Senate districts (with a few Senate districts split into two House subdistricts). Each district elects two House members. There are no Republicans running in districts 1 (northeast corner), 15 (Sioux Falls), 26A (south-central) west of Missouri River) and 28A (north-central west of Missouri River). There are no Democrats running in 5 (Watertown), 19 (south-central north of Missouri River), 23 (north-central east of Missouri River), 28B (northwest corner), 29 (far west-center), 30 (southwest corner) and 31 (Lawrence County).

Democrats have House primaries in districts 1, 26A Republicans have House primaries in districts 11 (Sioux Falls-area), 12 (Sioux Falls-area), 14 (Sioux Falls-area), 16 (southeast corner), 20 (Mitchell area), 23, 24,  26B and 29.

We assume at least a few more petitions must be coming by mail. Otherwise, for example, Republicans have conceded a seat in District 35, which currently is all Republican.

Democrats make big legislative push via mail

I’ll put up a complete post in the coming hours. Democratic candidates for state Senate and state House of Representatives surged Wednesday as the registered mail arrived at the South Dakota Secretary of State office. At least 13 more Democratic candidates — six Senate, seven House — were certified, including Sen. Angie Buhl O’Donnell of Sioux Falls. Democrats are now challenging four more Republican incumbent senators — Mike Vehle of Mitchell, Deb Soholt of Sioux Falls, Ried Holien of Watertown and Ernie Otten of Tea — and running for an open Senate seat in the Sioux Falls area where Republican Shantel Krebs of Renner isn’t seeking re-election.

Two more Republicans seeking House election also received certification today. The filing deadline was Tuesday at 5 p.m. CDT, but petitions sent via registered mail before that time are being accepted. Stay tuned. This is a wild finish.

Democrats have candidates in winnable legislative districts

There are 35 legislative districts in South Dakota. In 31 of them, there are more Republicans than Democrats registered, according to the March 3 reports from county auditors. In that sense, the Democratic Party with seven current senators is over-performing.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were four Democratic candidates without opponents for Senate seats. Those candidates are incumbents Jason Frerichs of Wilmot in District 1, Billie Sutton of Burke in District 21 and Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge in 27, along with Rep. Jim Peterson of Revillo who didn’t have a challenger yet in District 4.

The four districts where Democrats out-number Republicans are 1, 15, 26 and 27. No candidate had filed for Senate in District 15 as of Tuesday afternoon. The incumbent is Democrat Angie Buhl O’Donnell of Sioux Falls. The filing deadline was Tuesday at 5 p.m. CDT, but petitions with a postmark before the deadline could be accepted by registered U.S. mail. Perhaps a set of District 15 petitions will arrive by mail today or Thursday at the secretary of state office.

District 26 has Democratic Rep. Troy Heinert of Mission vs. Republican former Sen. John Koskan of Wood competing for the Senate seat. Stepping aside is Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, whose wife is now the school superintendent at Lake Andes. Lucas defeated the previous Republican incumbent, Kent Juhnke of Vivian, in 2012. Lucas received 4,405 votes to Juhnke’s 3,909. Lucas won in Todd, Mellette and Buffalo counties, while Juhnke won in Brule, Jones and Lyman. The March voter-registration numbers show the district with 4,280 Republicans, 6,875 Democrats, 1,615 independents and a few handfuls of other registrations.

In District 2, Democratic Sen. Chuck Welke of Warner will have a strong opponent in Republican Rep. Brock Greenfield of Clark. The registration numbers are 7,266 Republicans, 5,788 Democrats and 2,149 independents.

In District 3, Republican Sen. Al Novstrup of Aberdeen is running for the House so that term-limited Republican Rep. David Novstrup of Aberdeen can run for the Senate. They are father and son. Democrats actually have two candidates running in this district and will have a June primary. The registration numbers are 6,372 Republicans, 5,839 Democrats and 2,360 independents. The two Democratic candidates are Mark Remily of Aberdeen and Angelia Schultz of Aberdeen.

The Peterson candidacy in District 4 is to replace Republican Sen. Tim Begalka of Clear Lake, who isn’t seeking re-election. The registrations are 6,202 Republicans, 5,190 Democrats and 3,210 independents.

Democrats didn’t have candidates as of Tuesday afternoon for Senate seats in districts 5, 6, 10, 14, 20, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34 and 35. All are currently held by Republicans.

Democrats see chances to pick up Senate seats in several districts:

Democratic Rep. Scott Parsley of Madison is challenging Republican Sen. Scott Jones of Flandreau in District 8, where registration is 6,801 Republicans, 6,299 Democrats and 2,772 independents.

The District 9 contest is worth watching as Republican Sen. Deb Peters of Hartford faces Democratic challenger Sheryl Knutson of Sioux Falls; the latest numbers show 5,598 Republicans, 5,483 Democrats and 3,488 independents.

In District 16, Republican Sen. Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes is opposed by Democratic challenger Ann Tornberg of Beresford. Tornberg finished in third place, 124 votes behind Republican Rep. Patty Miller (since resigned), in the 2012 four-candidate race for the districts’ two House seats. The registration is 7,342 Republicans, 4,612 Democrats and 3,487 independents.

The District 17 seat will be open as Democratic Sen. Tom Jones of Viborg isn’t seeking re-election. The Senate candidates are Republican Arthur Rusch of Vermillion, who is a retired circuit judge, and Democrat Michelle Maloney of Vermillion. The registration is 5,394 Republicans, 4,742 Democrats and 2,642 independents.

In District 18, House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton is running for the Senate, while his sister-in-law, Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff of Yankton, is term-limited and running for the House. There are two Republicans filed as Senate candidates, Thomas Bixler of Yankton and Matt Stone of Yankton, and they will have a June primary. The registration is 5,819 Republicans, 4,702 Democrats and 2,645 independents, so this could be a difficult switch.

Then there’s District 33, where Republican Sen. Phil Jensen of Rapid City has a primary opponent and a general election opponent. Republican David Johnson of Rapid City filed. So did Democrat Haven Stuck of Rapid City. The registration is 7,669 Republicans, 3,921 Democrats and 3,647 independents.

In District 24 Republican Sen. Jeff Monroe of Pierre has a similar situation, as Republican former Rep. Tad Perry of Fort Pierre challenges Monroe in a rematch of their 2012 primary, while Democrat Ruth Rehn of Pierre awaits the winner. (Footnote to those who scoff about a Democrat running and winning from the Pierre district: It was the 1988 victory by Democratic challenger Jacqueline Kelley of Pierre over Republican Sen. Homer Harding of Pierre that opened the way two years later for a Republican named Mike Rounds to be elected to the Senate…)

Democrats also have challengers in District 7, where Jay Vanduch of Brookings is taking on Republican Sen. Larry Tidemann of Brookings; District 11, where Tom Cool of Sioux Falls is opposing Republican Sen. David Omdahl of Sioux Falls; District 12, where Jim Sanden of Sioux Falls is challenging Republican Sen. Blake Curd of Sioux Falls; District 13, where Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls is opposing Republican Sen. Phyllis Heineman of Sioux Falls; District 22, where Darrel Raschke of Huron is taking on Republican Sen. Jim White of Huron; and District 25 where Bill Laird of Sioux Falls challenges Republican Sen. Tim Rave of Baltic. All of these districts have at least 600 to 2000 more Republicans than Democrats registered.

In District 28, where Republican Sen. Ryan Maher is term-limited, the Senate candidates are Republican Rep. Betty Olson of Prairie City and Democrat Oren Lesmeister of Parade. Registration is 6,838 Republicans, 5,912 Democrats and 2,316 independents. Maher was elected as a Democrat from this district in 2006 and 2008 and as a Republican in 2010 and 2012.

In the Black Hills, with the exception of the Haven candidacy,Democrats aren’t running for Senate seats. Those districts, 29 through 35, all have at least 2,000 more Republicans than Democrats.

If you follow the state universities, help me…

The state Board of Regents meets next week in Madison at Dakota State University. One of the big decisions is setting tuition and fees. The regents central office distributed its meeting packet tonight and one set of documents deals with the additional funding received from the Legislature, with the governor’s recommendation, to achieve the regents’ goal of zero increase in tuition and fees for on-campus resident students.

If I’m correctly understanding the report, the only increases that might be coming would be inflationary for housing and for meal plans. I suppose, technically, this meets the zero-increase definition, because some freshmen and sophomores don’t have to live on campus, although most are required to do so.

Then there’s another way to look at the matter in this document that covers resident students. It states that resident state-support tuition, mandatory fees and all program fees will be frozen for the fiscal 2015 year (2014-2015 academic year). That sounds like a true freeze.

Your thoughts? Do I have this right?

Chris Christie on Dennis Daugaard

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is chairman for the Republican Governors Association. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is a Republican seeking election to a second term. Today Double-D makes the rounds of Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre on his re-election kick-off tour, and Christie through RGA issued a statement. It probably summarizes the themes of the Daugaard campaign. Here it is:

“As a state, South Dakota’s strength comes from its hard-working people, and Governor Daugaard is a true leader who embodies that same work ethic. His tireless determination to reform state government and revive its economy has made for a more open, accessible, efficient, and fiscally sound South Dakota. Governor Daugaard has further bolstered his state’s tradition as a great place to do business, and as a committed steward of the taxpayers, he has balanced the budget without gimmicks, putting his state on solid ground without resorting to tax hikes. The Republican Governors Association is proud to support Governor Daugaard’s re-election campaign.”