Wismer chooses former lawmaker Susy Blake as lt. gov. running mate
By Dirk Lammers
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Democratic candidate for governor Susan Wismer on Wednesday named former state lawmaker and nurse Susy Blake as her running mate.
Wismer, an accountant and state representative from Britton, said she and Blake worked well together in the Legislature and that Blake has been an advocate for many of the issues Wismer supports.
"She epitomizes all that is great about South Dakota and is committed to fighting for our state's future," Wismer said at a news conference in Sioux Falls, adding that Blake also focuses on working families.
Blake represented a Sioux Falls district from 2008-2012 before choosing not to run for re-election. She said she thought she was done with politics until she got a phone call from Wismer.
"Anyone else and I would have said no, but it was Susan that was calling," Blake said. "This is a woman I have deep respect for. She is honest. She is forthright. She is genuine, and I trust her completely."
Wismer and Blake will face Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels in the November election. The last Democrat elected governor was Richard Kneip in 1974.
Wismer has criticized Daugaard for cutting spending on education and health care, and she said her candidacy is about advocating for the many people the administration has left behind.
Daugaard has said his administration has worked with the South Dakota legislature to freeze tuition at state universities, while boosting funding to technical schools, K-12 education and Medicaid providers.
In June, Wismer beat out former state Wildland Fire Division head Joe Lowe for the Democratic nomination. She is the state's first female nominee for governor from a major party.
Wismer said Blake's gender was incidental to her selection; she was looking to pick someone from Sioux Falls for geographic balance.
Blake said she and Wismer complement each other's strengths.
"She's a thinker, and I'm kind of passionate," Blake said.