Only area legislative primary is in Dist. 21Only one of the legislative districts in The Daily Republic’s coverage area will have a primary Tuesday. In some cases, there won’t even be races this fall. The coverage area includes legislative districts 8, 19, 20, 21, 25 and 26B, which cover all or parts of Davison, Sanborn, Miner, McCook, Hanson, Hutchinson, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Douglas, Aurora, Jerauld, Buffalo, Brule, Gregory, Tripp, Lyman and Jones counties.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Only one of the legislative districts in The Daily Republic’s coverage area will have a primary Tuesday. In some cases, there won’t even be races this fall.
The coverage area includes legislative districts 8, 19, 20, 21, 25 and 26B, which cover all or parts of Davison, Sanborn, Miner, McCook, Hanson, Hutchinson, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Douglas, Aurora, Jerauld, Buffalo, Brule, Gregory, Tripp, Lyman and Jones counties.
The sole local race Tuesday is in House District 21, where Rep. Kent Juhnke, R-Vivian, is running for re-election. James Schaefer, of Kennebec, and Lee Qualm, of Platte, have also filed. Two of the three candidates will advance to represent the Republican Party in the Nov. 2 election.
Incumbent Rep. Thomas J. Deadrick, R-Platte, is running for secretary of state. District 21 covers a massive, sparsely populated area, including Jones, Lyman, Buffalo, Brule and Charles Mix counties.
Juhnke, a farmer, is in his fifth term in the House. He was elected in District 26 in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and then sat out the 2004 race.
After court-mandated redistricting moved him into another district, he was elected in District 21 in 2006 and 2008. One reason he wants to return to Pierre in 2010 is to serve on a redistricting committee after census figures are provided to the state.
Juhnke served on a similar committee in 2001 and said if he is re-elected, he would be the only legislator who served on that panel.
Juhnke said he also will focus on prioritizing and streamlining the state budget.
“That is the issue in the state,” he said.
There have been no campaign forums, so he’s focused on stopping at local businesses to meet with voters and show them he wants their support, he said.
“Personal contact, you just can’t beat it,” Juhnke said. “Just one-on-one, get out and meet the people.”
He’s also placed 16 large campaign signs across the district and has lawn signs put up by backers. Juhnke said he’s placed newspaper advertising as well.
Schaefer, a rancher and businessman, is in his first campaign for political office. But he said his real-world experience qualifies him for the Legislature.
“I think I’ve got expertise in the business world (to be effective),” he said.
If elected, Schaefer said he would spend his first months on the job listening and learning.
He has formed a campaign committee to reach out to voters and has erected lawn signs as well.
On Thursday, he was in Murdo “to talk to businessmen and people on Main Street,” he said.
Qualm, a farmer, also is in his first campaign for office.
“I think there’s always time for new blood and new ideas,” he said.
Qualm said while he needs to learn more about the issues, he said one thing is clear: The state budget is in dire shape.
“We’ve got a huge budget deficit we need to deal with and there’s going to be some real hard decisions to make,” he said. “That’s going to be the tough issue, I think.”
His campaign has relied on going door-to-door, sending out fliers and buying ads to reach voters. “We’ve been trying to get to all the towns,” Qualm said. “We’re running out of time, but we’re trying to get there.”
Although there is an incumbent and two challengers in the GOP primary, the candidates said they feel they are on an equal footing.
“I think all three of us are in the same pie,” Qualm said. “It’s hard to judge, being my first try at running for things.”
Schaefer said, “I guess I feel all three have an equal chance. Certainly Kent has more name recognition.”
Juhnke said he likes and respects his opponents and has shared his campaign plans with them.
The two Republicans who win Tuesday will face Democrats Norm Cihak, of Dante, and David Reis, of Oacoma, on Nov. 2. The top-two vote getters will win seats in the House.
All the other area House contests will be decided in the fall:
* In District 8, Rep. Gerald Lange of Madison and Rep. Mitch Fargan of Flandreau, both Democrats, will run against Republican challenger Patricia Stricherz of Dell Rapids. Two of the three will be seated in 2011.
* In District 19, Sen. Frank J. Kloucek, D-Scotland, is term-limited in that body and is running for a House seat. Democrat Kyle Schoenfish, also of Scotland, is also running.
They will face Republicans Edward E. VanGerpen of Avon and Valerie Campbell of Springfield.
* In District 20, Rep. Lance Carson, R-Mitchell, is seeking another term but Rep. Noel Hamiel will not seek a second term. Tona Rozum of Mitchell is running in his stead.
There are no Democratic candidates for the seats, but Becky Haslam of Mitchell will be on the ballot as an independent. Haslam had intended to run as a Democrat, but discrepancies in her petitions forced her to run without a party label, according to South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Erin McCarrick.
* In District 25, with Rep. Timothy A. Rave seeking to move to the Senate, the Republicans are fielding two challengers: Stace Nelson of Fulton and Jon Hansen of Dell Rapids.
Rep. Oran A. Sorenson, D-Garretson, is seeking re-election. The other Democratic candidate is Dennis Van Overschelde of Salem.
* In District 26B, Rep. Kim Vanneman, R-Ideal, will face Democrat Joel Keierleber of Colome.
All area Senate races will also be decided in the fall, or have only one candidate:
* In District 8, Sen. Russell Olson, R-Madison, is the only declared candidate.
* In District 19, Sen. J.E. “Jim” Putnam, R-Armour, will be opposed in the fall by Democrat Glennis “Glenny” Stern, also of Armour.
* In District 20, Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, will be opposed by Democrat Susan Thie, also of Mitchell.
* In District 21, Sen. Cooper Garnos, R-Presho, will face Democrat Steve Smith of Chamberlain.
* In District 25, Sen. Dan Ahlers, D-Dell Rapids, will run against Republican Tim Rave of Baltic, who now serves in the House and is seeking to move to the upper chamber.
* In District 26, Sen. Julie Bartling won’t seek another term. Bartling is running for state auditor.
Two challengers, Republican John S. Meyer of Winner and Democrat Billie H. Sutton of Burke, will battle for the seat.
There are 35 legislative districts statewide that elect 35 senators and 70 representatives.
Democrats are fielding candidates in 26 Senate races and have 63 candidates for 70 House seats.
Republicans have 32 Senate candidates and 60 House candidates.
Democratic Party Executive Director McCarrick said she is pleased with the field of candidates.
“This is in par for what we’ve done in the past,” McCarrick said. “It will allow us to focus on these races.”