Van Gerpen ousts Kloucek22-year lawmaking veteran falls in re-election bid.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
Republican Bill Van Gerpen defeated longtime Democratic legislator Frank Kloucek in the District 19 race for Senate in Tuesday’s election.
Kloucek, 56, of Scotland, has been in the Legislature since 1991 and has served multiple terms in both the House and Senate.
“For 22 years, we’ve had the honor of serving the people of District 19,” Kloucek said. “We have worked to help our people, from the family farms and our small towns to the halls of our state Capitol.”
District 19 includes a part of Bon Homme and all of Douglas, Hutchinson, Hanson and McCook counties.
Van Gerpen received 7,024 votes, or 60 percent, and Kloucek received 4,677 votes, or 40 percent.
Kloucek described his time in the Legislature as the “experience of a lifetime” and thanked his constituents for their support.
When asked if he would ever run for office again, Kloucek said “anything is possible.”
Van Gerpen, 63, of Tyndall, said he was humbled and overwhelmed by the result of the race.
“We’re really proud of our people here in District 19,” he said. “This is a win for rural values, rural development and small schools in South Dakota.”
Van Gerpen has served in the House before, first from 1997 to 1998, then from 2001 to 2004 and again from 2009 to 2010.
District 19 House
Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, and Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, both Republicans, defeated Democratic challenger Alan Fenner to take District 19’s two seats in the House.
Nelson received 6,956 votes, or 40 percent of the vote, Schoenfish received 6,550 votes, or 38 percent of the vote, and Fenner received 3,708 votes, or 22 percent of the vote.
Nelson, 45, and Schoenfish, 24, defeated longtime legislator Jim Putnam, of Armour, and Roger Hofer, of Bridgewater, in the district’s Republican primary election on June 5.
Nelson promised to serve the interests of his district when he returns to the House.
“I’m humbled and honored that the folks wanted me to continue serving them,” he said.
Nelson’s outspokenness and large physical stature garnered him lots of media attention during the last legislative session. In one widely reported story, he accused House Republican leader David Lust, of Rapid City, and House Speaker Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City, of asking for confidential information about other legislators’ bills.
Schoenfish ran as a Democratic candidate for the House in District 19 in 2010 but failed to win a seat.
After learning he had been elected, Schoenfish said he anticipated his first time in the Legislature will be a learning experience.
“I’ll work hard for the district,” he said.
Incumbent Sen. Billie H. Sutton, D-Burke, claimed District 21’s Senate seat over Republican challenger John Meyer, of Winner.
Sutton received 5,722 votes, or 59 percent, and Meyer received 3,901 votes, or 41 percent.
“You’re never sure how an election is going to go,” Sutton said. “But it looked like people came out and supported me.”
Sutton, 28, was happy with the result and looks forward to getting back to work in the Senate.
“We have a lot of issues to tackle,” he said, noting he hoped to take on the budget and funding for education.
Democrat Julie Bartling, 54, of Burke, will return to House along with Republican Lee Qualm, of Platte, to represent District 21. They defeated Democrat Gary W. Coleman, of Dante, and current Rep. Dave Scott, R-Geddes.
Bartling received 5,306 votes, or 32 percent. Qualm received 4,419 votes, or 27 percent, narrowly defeating Scott, who received 4,175 votes, or 26 percent, and Democrat Gary W. Coleman, who received 2,429 votes, or 15 percent.
District 21 consists of Tripp, Gregory, Charles Mix and a portion of Bon Homme counties.
Bartling served District 21 in the House from 2001 to 2004, then in the Senate from 2005 to 2010. Bartling was happy to have the opportunity to represent the district again.
“I’m just pleased and grateful for the confidence and support,” she said.
Bartling hoped to work on adequately funding education when she returns to the House.
Incumbent Sen. Kent Juhnke was defeated in a close race for Senate in District 26 by Democrat Larry J. Lucas.
Lucas received 4,405 votes, or 53 percent, and Juhnke received 3,909 votes, or 47 percent.
District 26 consists of Jones, Lyman, Buffalo, Brule, Mellette and Todd counties.
Rep. James Schaefer, R-Kennebec, defeated his opponent in the race for House in District 26B, Maynard J. Konechne, a Democrat from Kimball. Schaefer received 2,981 votes, or 59 percent, and Konechne received 2,078 votes, or 41 percent.
District 26B consists of Jones, Lyman, Buffalo and Brule counties.
Sen. Russell Olson, R-Wentworth, defeated Democrat Charlie Johnson, of Madison, for Senate in District 8. Olson is the Republican majority leader in the Senate.
With 27 of 28 precincts reporting, Olson received 5,759 votes, or 64 percent of the vote, and Johnson received 3,304 votes, or 36 percent of the vote.
District 8 consists of Sanborn, Miner, Lake and Moody counties.
Democrat Scott Parsley, of Madison and Republican Leslie Heinemann, of Flandreau, won District 8’s two seats in the House, defeating Democrat Roy Lindsay, of Madison, and Republican Gene Kroger, of Madison.
Parsley received 6,069 votes, or 31 percent, Heinemann received 5,242 votes, or 27 percent, Lindsay received 4,579 votes, or 23 percent, and Kroger received 3,945 votes, or 20 percent.