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GOP rival takes on Daugaard over Common Core, Obamacare

Editor's note: This is the first of two profiles on the Republican candidates running in Tuesday's primary election.

If Republican voters don't remember Lora Hubbel's name, she at least hopes they will remember her message.

The 56-year-old former state lawmaker is frustrated that her primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Dennis Daugaard for Tuesday's primary election hasn't gotten more attention or generated more debate.

"I'd sure like to be acknowledged that I am running," Hubbel said. "There has been a lot of emphasis on the Senate primary but absolutely none for the governor's office. It's disheartening because unless something happens soon, people won't know what the difference is between Daugaard and myself. And there is a 180-degree difference."

On this point, Hubbel hammers three messages in her campaign. First, South Dakota should not implement the Common Core education standards. Second, the state should not implement Obamacare, officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Third, the Governor's Office of Economic Development should go away.

It was the rolling out of Obamacare and Common Core during her single term in the South Dakota House of Representatives that prompted Hubbel to take on a sitting governor from her own party, she said.

"In the Legislature, I really saw how South Dakota has no intestinal fortitude to get out of Obamacare because there's a lot of money in it for the people who control politicians," Hubbel said. "The Common Core fight got me from thinking about running to saying, 'Heck yes, I'm in.'"

On her website, Hubbel discusses a conference she organized in October in Sioux Falls for Common Core skeptics.

In 2011, she sponsored a bill in the Legislature to prohibit South Dakota from implementing Obamacare based on a 10th Amendment states rights argument.

"The Legislature finds that the assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ... interferes with the right of the people of this state to regulate health care as they see fit," reads the bill, which died in committee on a 13-0 vote.

On her website, she says the Governor's Office of Economic Development puts government in too cozy a relationship with business, and she argues for "free-market solutions."

"(I) will cut several money pits in state government like the GOED," she writes. "(I) will follow our SD Constitution to stop monopolies. I will not pick winners and losers by partnering government with business."

The Vermillion native earned a nursing degree at the University of South Dakota and married her husband, Timothy, in 1979. When her husband became a chiropractor, they moved to Sioux Falls with their three children, two daughters and a son, now all grown.

The family began buying distressed houses, fixing them up and reselling them for a profit.

"We were flipping houses before it was even called that," Hubbel said.

When payday came, Hubbel saw a significant portion go to Realtor fees, so she studied and earned her Realtor's license so the family could get a better return on their investments.

She now has her own real estate brokerage office and works as a nurse in her husband's office.

She served in the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2011 and 2012.

Hubbel said it's been difficult to raise enough money to mount much of a media ad campaign, so she's been speaking to as many groups as she can to get her message out.

"People don't know me, but they love my message. Once they do know me, they like what they see," she said.

She said she felt compelled to do the politically unconventional thing by challenging a fellow Republican who already holds the office because, in her view, another four years of Common Core, Obamacare and current economic development practices are not good for South Dakota.

"Four years is too long to wait. A child would go from kindergarten to fourth grade. I could not let that go unchallenged," she said. "I'm letting people know who their politicians really are behind closed doors."