Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive South Dakota elections in 2014

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April 2, 2014

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2014 South Dakota Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

While voters approved legislative term limits for South Dakota's legislators in 1992, incumbent lawmakers can avoid the limit by running for another office. In 2014, eight legislators are limited from running for office again and five of them are seeking a new public office. Reps. David Novstrup (R) and Betty Olson (R) and Sen. Jean Hunhoff (R) will run for the opposite chamber. Two others, Reps. Manford Steele (R) and Marc Feinstein (D) will seek public office. Thus, only three of the legislators termed out will retire from public office. In the previous two elections, however, voters have ousted some of the longest-serving incumbents, so there are no guarantees for the incumbents looking to extend their service by changing chambers.[1]

March 25 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for South Dakota State Senate and South Dakota House of Representatives. Elections in 35 Senate districts and 35 House districts will consist of a primary election on June 3, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, South Dakota State Senate elections and South Dakota House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds the majority in both state legislative chambers. South Dakota's office of Governor is held by Dennis Daugaard (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 21 seats, or 60 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 19 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot. In 2012, a total of three districts had a margin of victory in the general election of 5 percent or less. Another four districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[2]

South Dakota State Senate
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 7 Pending
     Republican Party 28 Pending
Total 35 35

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 36 seats, or 51.4 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 30 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot. In 2012, a total of twelve districts had a margin of victory in the general election of 5 percent or less. Another five districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[3]

South Dakota House of Representatives
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 17 Pending
     Republican Party 53 Pending
Total 70 70
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2014 State Legislative Elections

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Margin of victory

Senate

All 35 seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. Three of those districts had a margin of victory in the general election of 5 percent or less. Another four districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. One district that held a mildly competitive election in 2012 has only one major party candidate in 2014.[2]

Competitive

  • District 2: Incumbent Chuck Welke (D) will face Brock Greenfield (R) in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances. Welke won by a margin of victory of 3 percent in 2012.
  • District 17: Michelle Maloney (D) and Arthur Rusch (R) will face off in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances for the seat being vacated by Tom Jones (D). Jones won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.
  • District 25: Incumbent Timothy Rave (R) will face Bill Laird (D) in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances. Rave won by a margin of victory of 2 percent in 2012.

Mildly Competitive

  • District 3: Mark Remily will face Angela Schultz in the Democratic primary, while David Novstrup is unopposed in the Republican primary. Retiring incumbent Al Novstrup (R) won by a margin of victory of 7 percent in 2012.
  • District 7: Incumbent Larry Tidemann (R) will face Jay Vanduch (D) in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances. Tidemann won by a margin of victory of 7 percent in 2012.
  • District 15: Incumbent Angie Buhl O'Donnell (D) is unopposed in both the Democratic primary and the election election. Buhl O'Donnell won by a margin of victory of 10 percent in 2012.
  • District 22: Incumbent Jim White (R) will face Darrell Raschke (D) in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances. White won by a margin of victory of 9 percent in 2012.
  • District 26: Troy Heinert (D) and John Koskan will face off in the general election barring unforeseen circumstances for the seat being vacated by Larry J. Lucas (D). Lucas won by a margin of victory of 6 percent in 2012.

House

All 70 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Twelve of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another five districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[3]

Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In South Dakota's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[4]

  • There are 33 open seats (31.4%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 10 incumbents (9.5%) face a primary challenger.
  • 49 districts (46.7%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing South Dakota Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 32.4% 8 9.9% 36 69.5% 21 37.3 17
2012 25.7% 15 30.1% 9 65.7% 24 40.5 14
2014 31.4% Pending 13.9% Pending 46.7% Pending 30.7 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the South Dakota State Senate.

South Dakota Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
25.7% 5.7% 54.3% 45.7

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 16 (46%) of the 35 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 12 Republicans and 4 Democrat are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 19 (54.3%) of the 35 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 2 incumbents will face primary competition on June 3. Nine incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 24 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition include:

Retiring incumbents

Nine incumbent senators, two Democrats and seven Republican, are not running for re-election, while 26 (74.3%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Al Novstrup Ends.png Republican Senate District 03
Tim Begalka Ends.png Republican Senate District 04
Shantel Krebs Ends.png Republican Senate District 10
Tom Jones Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 17
Jean Hunhoff Ends.png Republican Senate District 18
Larry J. Lucas Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 26
Ryan Maher Ends.png Republican Senate District 28
Larry Rhoden Ends.png Republican Senate District 29
Mark Kirkeby Ends.png Republican Senate District 35

House

The following table details competitiveness in the South Dakota House of Representatives.

South Dakota House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
75.0% 52.5% 71.3% 66.3

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 40 (57.1%) of the 70 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 11 Democrats and 29 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 30 of the 70 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 8 incumbents will face primary competition on June 3. 24 incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 38 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

24 incumbent House members, six Democrats and eighteen Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 46 (65.7%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Susan Wismer Electiondot.png Democratic House District 1
Brock L. Greenfield Ends.png Republican House District 2
David Novstrup Ends.png Republican House District 3
Jim Peterson Electiondot.png Democratic House District 4
Melissa Magstadt Ends.png Republican House District 5
Scott Parsley Electiondot.png Democratic House District 8
Jenna Haggar Ends.png Republican House District 10
Christine M. Erickson Ends.png Republican House District 11
Manford Steele Ends.png Republican House District 12
Hal Wick Ends.png Republican House District 12
Anne C. Hajek Ends.png Republican House District 14
Marc Feinstein Electiondot.png Democratic House District 14
Bernie Hunhoff Electiondot.png Democratic House District 18
Stace Nelson Ends.png Republican House District 19
Lance Carson Ends.png Republican House District 20
Charles Hoffman Ends.png Republican House District 23
Scott W. Ecklund Ends.png Republican House District 25
Troy Heinert Electiondot.png Democratic House District 26A
Betty Olson Ends.png Republican House District 28
Gary L. Cammack Ends.png Republican House District 29
Lance Russell Ends.png Republican House District 30
David Lust Ends.png Republican House District 34
Don Kopp Ends.png Republican House District 35
Blaine Campbell Ends.png Republican House District 35

See also

External links

References