Steve Sibson acknowledges his will be an uphill battle for District 20's Senate seat, but he insists he will best represent the little guy.

Sibson, 56, of Mitchell, said this week he has enough signatures to file a petition for the seat but is gathering more to help spread word of his campaign. Assuming he files enough valid signatures, he will set up an inner-party challenge against incumbent Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell. The primary election is June 5.

"I want to bring back into vogue the conservative Republican platform," Sibson said. "The basic theme of my campaign two years ago and my campaign now is 'Making government bureaucracy smaller and making you the citizen bigger.' "

Sibson ran two years ago against Vehle as an independent in the general election. Although he got 21 percent of the vote in 2010, Sibson said conservative Republicans were afraid to vote for him because they thought splitting the Republican vote would help a Democrat win.

This year, he hopes his Republican status will bring more votes from conservatives around District 20, which after redistricting will now include Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties.

He wants to focus on bringing education back into parental control. He said while there's been a decrease in student population, the state has increased the amount of faculty and staff in the schools. He added that Gov. Dennis Daugaard's solution to the education situation is "more bureaucracy."

"Instead of letting the federal government dictate to us what is a quality education, put that decision in the hands of the parents," he said. "The problem is not the teachers, it is the system."

Sen. Vehle has not filed for re-election yet, but has petitions out and plans to file before the March 27 deadline, he said.

Asked about Sibson's candidacy, Vehle said "it's a free country" and added that it's good to have people running for office.

Davison County Republican Party Chairwoman Donna Weiland said Vehle has represented the party well, and she sees no reason for a change.

"We will support what we already have," Weiland said, referring to Vehle and District 20's two representatives, Lance Carson and Tona Rozum, who are both Republicans from Mitchell.

Former state representative Quentin Burg, of Wessington Springs, has petitions out and plans to file as a Democrat for District 20's Senate seat as well, he said Tuesday.

He said he's been frustrated with this year's legislative session as many legislators seem to have followed whatever Gov. Daugaard wanted.

"When I looked at this legislative session and what they did with education, I was frustrated. There was no real leadership," he said.

Chris Huber/Republic

Steve Sibson talks Tuesday with The Daily Republic about running for the District 20 state Senate seat. Sibson hopes to run as a Republican, which would set up a primary challenge against state Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell.