All but 7 South Dakota state reps face opposition

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August 11, 2010

By Andy Marshall

Among the 49 South Dakota state representative incumbents running for re-election this year, all but 7 face at least one opponent in the November 2 general election or already ran against one in the June 8 primary, according to a Ballotpedia analysis. Nationwide, 24.86% of incumbents on the ballot face neither primary nor general election opposition, significantly more than the 14.29% of South Dakota state representatives in the same situation. The Democratic incumbents hold a slight advantage in uncontested seats, with 4 facing no opposition, while 3 Republican incumbents enjoy uncontested re-election campaigns.

Only 21 seats of the 70 seats (30%) in the South Dakota House of Representatives have no incumbent seeking re-election. In 8 of these districts, South Dakota's term limits prevent the incumbent from running again.[1] The Republicans are defending 17 open seats, while the Democrats have only 4.

According to the data, states with term limits have a much higher rate of turnover than non-term limited states. Nationwide, 18 percent of seats are considered open -- where there is no incumbent running for re-election. But in states with term limits, that number jumps to 48.51 percent. In states without term limits, only 13.78 percent of seats are open. The South Dakota House of Representatives elections feature more open seats than the nationwide average but less than the average for term-limited states.

Just 6 incumbents -- 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats -- faced contested primaries on June 8. Those 6 make up 12.24% of the 49 incumbents running for re-election, and all 6 were renominated. Nationwide, 21.44% of all incumbent state legislators running for re-election faced primary challenges.

Republicans currently outnumber Democrats in the South Dakota House, 46 to 24.

Party As of July 2014
     Democratic Party 17
     Republican Party 53
Total 70

Politifact staff writer Louis Jacobson, handicapping the 2010 state legislative elections for Governing, rates the South Dakota House of Representatives as safely Republican.[2]

Partisan incumbents

Across the country, more Democrat incumbents are not running for re-election than Republicans. Additionally, more Democrats are facing primary opposition.

Category Democrats in SD House Republicans in SD House Democrats nationwide Republicans nationwide
Incumbent seats open 4 17 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 2 4 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 4 3 TBD TBD

See also