MERCER: Much of SD's next legislative class already secureNovember is still four months away, yet nearly one third of the 35 men and women who will be members of the South Dakota Senate for the new term starting in 2013 are already elected.
November is still four months away, yet nearly one third of the 35 men and women who will be members of the South Dakota Senate for the new term starting in 2013 are already elected.
Those 11 don’t have opponents in the November general election.
In the 70-member House of Representatives, there are 17 in a similar situation, who have a free pass in November.
On the flip side, there are 32 legislators who definitely aren’t coming back in 2013.
They’re either not running, whether term-limited or voluntarily retiring. Or they lost in June primary elections . Or they face other incumbents in loser-out elections come November.
Who lost primaries?
House Democratic assistant leader Mitch Fargen did, after moving to Sioux Falls from Flandreau, where he had a seemingly safe seat.
Republican incumbents who lost primaries for the House included Rep. Mark Willadsen, of Sioux Falls, Sen. Jim Putnam, of Armour, Rep. Shawn Tornow, of Sioux Falls, and Rep. Mark Venner, of Pierre.
Republican incumbents who lost primaries for the Senate included Rep. Tad Perry, of Fort Pierre, Rep. Gene Abdallah, of Sioux Falls, Rep. Val Rausch, of Big Stone City, Rep. Lora Hubbel, of Sioux Falls and Sen. Tom Nelson, of Lead.
Who’s term-limited and didn’t run?
There are three senators who fit this category. They are Democrat Jim Hundstad, of Bath, and Republicans Bob Gray, of Pierre, and Tom Hansen, of Huron.
And, for what it’s worth, Hundstad and Hansen continue to attend to their assigned legislative duties. Both were present Friday morning in their roles as official oversight monitors for the state Board of Water and Natural Resources meeting.
There are four House members, all Republicans, who were term-limited and called it done. They are Jamie Boomgarden, of Chancellor, Thomas Brunner, of Nisland, Roger Hunt, of Brandon, and Chuck Turbiville, of Deadwood.
Two Democrats in the House who are term-limited aren’t retiring but instead are running for the Senate. They are Rep. Paul Dennert and Rep. Steve Street.
They have something in common. Each changed his residency.
Dennert moved to Aberdeen from Columbia so he could take on Republican Sen. Al Novstrup, of Aberdeen.
That allowed Dennert to sidestep the redistricting change made by Republicans, when they drew the new boundaries and placed Dennert’s farm into the same district as Senate Democratic leader Jason Frerichs, of Wilmot.
Street’s address no longer is Revillo. He’s now from Milbank. But he remains in the same general district. He faces Republican Sen. Tim Begalka, of Clear Lake, for the District 4 Senate seat. Begalka beat back Rausch’s primary challenge.
Who’s voluntarily retiring?
House Democrats will lose Elaine Elliott, of Aberdeen, Ed Iron Cloud III, of Porcupine, and David Sigdestad, of Pierpont.
House Republicans heading out are Brian Liss, of Sioux Falls, Nick Moser, of Yankton, Ed Van Gerpen, of Avon, and Kim Vanneman, of Ideal.
Senate Republicans retiring early are the most numerous.
They are Joni Cutler, of Sioux Falls, Jeff Haverly, of Rapid City, Elizabeth Kraus, of Rapid City, Eldon Nygaard, of Vermillion and Todd Schlekeway, of Sioux Falls.
Schlekeway was seeking re-election but recently received a job in Watertown.
Who’s attempting to switch chambers?
There were 12 House members and one senator who tried. Six of those 13 lost in primaries. The seven remaining are all House members with their eyes on Senate seats.
Those seven are Republican Phil Jensen, of Rapid City, Democrat Tom Jones, of Viborg, Democrat Frank Kloucek, of Scotland, Republican Mark Kirkeby, of Rapid City, Democrat Larry Lucas, of Mission, and Democrats Dennert and Street.
Like Dennert and Street, Lucas is challenging a Republican incumbent. He faces Sen. Kent Juhnke, of Vivian.
Kirkeby was unopposed by anyone in making his switch from the House to the Senate.
Who else has clear sailing in November?
Among senators, there is a handful without opponents: Democratic leader Frerichs, Republican assistant leader Corey Brown, of Gettysburg, Democrat Jim Bradford, of Pine Ridge, Republican Ryan Maher, of Isabel, Republican Larry Rhoden, of Union Center, and Republican Stan Adelstein of Rapid City.
Several Senate Republican primary winners don’t have November opponents. Those are Jensen, Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, of Rapid City, Bob Ewing, of Spearfish, (who defeated Sen. Tom Nelson, of Lead, in a GOP primary) and Sen. Craig Tieszen, of Rapid City.
Unopposed in the House are four Democratic incumbents Susan Wismer, of Britton, Dennis Feickert, of Aberdeen, Patrick Kirschman, of Sioux Falls and Dean Schrempp, of Lantry.
Also unopposed in the House are Republican incumbents Charlie Hoffman, of Eureka, Justin Cronin, of Gettysburg, Dean Wink, of Howes, Lance Russell, of Hot Springs, Mike Verchio, of Hill City, Fred Romkema, of Spearfish; and Betty Olson, of Prairie City.
Wink, Russell, Verchio and Romkema all emerged from difficult primaries.
Also unopposed in November are Republican primary winners Mary Duvall, of Pierre, Gary Cammack, of Union Center, Tim Johns, of Lead, and former Rep. Tim Rounds, of Pierre; and Democratic primary winners Karen Soli, of Sioux Falls, and Troy Heinert, of Mission.
Undoubtedly, with so many contests, someone might have been missed in the above lists. But the general rule remains:
We tend to think of Election Day as Tuesday, Nov. 6. But in many legislative districts the elections are already over.