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SD delegation ready for low-stress Democratic convention

Former Sen. Tom Daschle is part of the South Dakota delegation to the Democratic Convention.

Daschle, who served eight years in the House and 18 in the Senate representing the state before he was defeated in 2004, is listed as a super-delegate. Those are slots left open for current and former elected officials as well as party officers.

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is also listed as a super-delegate, but bowed out due to his wife Barb Johnson's recent fall.

Former Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecilia Fire Thunder also dropped out as a delegate, as did Mitchell native and former Obama campaign strategist Steve Hildebrand, who recently opened a new coffeehouse and cafe in Sioux Falls.

Former Sen. George McGovern, who said earlier this summer he planned to attend, did not go to the convention. McGovern has been battling health issues for several months. Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is also not on the list as a super-delegate.

Ben Nesselhuf, the South Dakota Democratic Party executive director and party chairman, is at the convention, which started Tuesday and runs through Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.

There are no pressing decisions for the delegates to make. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be renominated.

"This is more about energizing the base," Nesselhuf said. "We did the platform, of course. It's pretty low-stress."

He said South Dakota will cast 26 votes in the presidential and vice presidential nominations today. Only Obama and Biden will be nominated, so there's not much suspense.

The South Dakota delegation is seated just off the left of the stage, he said, for people looking for familiar faces.

Several of the delegates have a background in South Dakota politics, including Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether, who is a delegate, as is his wife Cindy; state Sen. Angie Buhl, of Sioux Falls; former legislator and Public Utilities Commissioner Jim Burg, of Wessington Springs; former state Sen. Tom Katus, of Rapid City; former state Sen. Dan Sutton, of Flandreau; former legislator Rebekah Cradduck, who spent two years each in the House and Senate as a Republican from Sioux Falls; as well as the national committeewoman and committeeman, Sharon Stroschein, who works in Sen. Johnson's Aberdeen office, and Nick Nemec, a former legislator from Holabird who is running for the PUC.