2012 elections review:Four State House incumbents defeated in South Dakota primaries

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June 6, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

In South Dakota, Tuesday's primary was marked by the defeat of four House incumbents. Mark K. Willadsen (R), R. Shawn Tornow (R), Mark E. Venner (R) and Mitch Fargen (D) all fell to primary opponents. Senator Thomas Nelson (R) also fell to a primary opponent.

Legislative incumbents seeking higher office also faced difficulties. Of the nine state representatives running for South Dakota Senate, four were defeated by their primary opponents. One of those defeats, however, may go to a recount.

Contested Primaries in South Dakota -- June 5, 2012
U.S. House
(1 districts)
State Legislature
(72 districts)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 1 (100%) 3 (4.2%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 0 (0%) 27 (37.5%)


See also: United States House of Representatives elections in South Dakota, 2012

South Dakota has one at-large congressional district. Incumbent Kristi Noem was unopposed in the Republican primary after would-be challenger Stephanie Strong's candidate petition fell 37 signatures short. Matt Varilek, a staff member for U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D), defeated Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth in the Democratic primary.[1]

Members of the U.S. House from South Dakota -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 0 0
     Republican Party 1 1
Total 1 1

State legislatures

See also: South Dakota State Senate elections, 2012 and South Dakota House of Representatives elections, 2012
  • Of the state's 105 incumbents, 74 (70.5%) are running for re-election, 21 (20.0%) are retiring, and 10 (9.5%) are term-limited.
  • Nine incumbents (12.2% of those running) are running for re-election in a new district due to redistricting.
  • In total, five South Dakota incumbents were defeated in Tuesday's primary election. A breakdown of those races is as follows.
  • In total, only 22 incumbents (29.7% of those running) faced primary opponents--20 Republicans and two Democrats.
  • After Tuesday's primary election, one South Dakota race is within the 2% margin of victory needed to call a recount.
  • In Senate District 24, Jeff Monroe leads Tad Perry by only 36 in the race for the Republican nomination. The seat is open since incumbent Bob Gray (R) is term limited.[2]

South Dakota State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 5 7
     Republican Party 30 28
Total 35 35

South Dakota House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 19 17
     Republican Party 50 53
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 70 70

See also

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