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Four state's attorney candidates file civil suit against opponents

Four candidates for state's attorney in four different counties have filed suits against two other state's attorney candidates. Casey Bridgman, Steven R. Smith, David V. Natvig and David J. Larson have filed civil suits against Dedrich "Deach" Ko...

Four candidates for state's attorney in four different counties have filed suits against two other state's attorney candidates.

Casey Bridgman, Steven R. Smith, David V. Natvig and David J. Larson have filed civil suits against Dedrich "Deach" Koch and Theresa Maule, who are each running for the office of state's attorney in two different counties in November.

Bridgman and Larson have filed suits against current Buffalo and Jerauld county State's Attorney Koch, who had filed petitions for re-election to both state's attorney positions. Plaintiffs Bridgman and Larson, who have included each county's auditor and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs in the suit, filed identical civil suits claiming Koch cannot run for two offices during one election.

The plaintiffs referenced South Dakota Codified Law 12-6-3, which states "No person may be a candidate for nomination or election to more than one public office except the office of President of the United States or vice president of the United States." They are also requesting Koch's name be removed from the ballot in November.

The skirmish between Bridgman and Koch is nothing new.

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In defense of the complaint, Koch referenced the 2013 South Dakota Supreme Court case of Bridgman v. Koch, in which Bridgman attempted to oust Koch from the office of Jerauld County state's attorney while he also served as Buffalo County state's attorney.

Koch eventually resigned from the position, but the Supreme Court ruled Koch had not violated the law while serving simultaneously as state's attorney in two separate counties. Koch has since returned to the position of Jerauld County state's attorney.

"I would just simply say the statute says that you cannot run for more than one position in the same election," Koch said Thursday. "Even though these elections occur on the same date, they are completely separate elections. Nobody in Buffalo County votes in Jerauld County, nobody in Jerauld County votes in Buffalo County. My name only appears once on ballot in any of the given counties, and the same thing would be true with Theresa Maule."

Maule faces the same complaint from Brule County State's Attorney Natvig and Lyman County state's attorney candidate Steven R. Smith.

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