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Stories about South Dakota

Crabtree replaces Youngberg in the South Dakota

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) appointed Casey Crabtree (R) to the South Dakota State Senate on June 19, one day after Jordan Youngberg (R) resigned to take a full-time position with the South Dakota State Treasurer’s office. Crabtree’s appointment to represent District 8 was effective immediately.

Crabtree will serve the remainder of Youngberg’s unexpired term, which ends on January 11, 2021. At the time of his appointment, Crabtree had already declared his candidacy for the District 8 seat. He is running unopposed in the Nov. 3 general election.

86 of 99 state legislative chambers nationwide are holding elections in 2020, including both chambers of the South Dakota State Legislature. Heading into the 2020 elections, Republicans hold a majority 61 chambers compared to Democrats’ 37. In the Alaska House, there is a power-sharing agreement between the parties as part of a coalition.

Republicans hold a supermajority in the South Dakota State Senate and the South Dakota House of Representatives, as well as a Republican state government trifecta.

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One South Dakota Supreme Court justice faces a retention election in November

One South Dakota Supreme Court justice, Steven Jensen, will face a retention election on November 3, 2020. He was appointed in 2017 by Governor Dennis Daugaard (R).

Currently, every justice on the court was appointed by a Republican governor.

The governor appoints the five justices of the supreme court through a hybrid nominating commission where neither the governor nor the South Dakota State Bar Association has majority control. The South Dakota Judicial Qualifications Commission is made up of seven members: two judges, three lawyers and two members of the public. The judges are elected by the Judicial Conference, the lawyers are chosen by the state bar association, and the members of the public are appointed by the governor.

When a vacancy occurs, the commission compiles a list of at least two names. The governor must then make his appointment from this list. Initially, justices serve for at least three years, after which they stand for retention during a regularly scheduled general election. If they are retained, justices serve terms that last eight years.

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South Dakota statewide filing deadline passes for independent candidates

On April 28, the independent filing deadline passed to run for elected office in South Dakota. Candidates filed for the following offices:

  • South Dakota State Senate District 25
  • South Dakota State Senate District 35
  • South Dakota House of Representatives District 17
  • South Dakota House of Representatives District 29

Any candidate for nonjudicial public office who is not nominated by a primary election may be nominated as an independent candidate by filing with the South Dakota Secretary of State or county auditor. Filing must be completed no earlier than 8 a.m. on January 1 and no later than 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday of April prior to the election.

An independent candidate’s certificate of nomination must be signed by registered voters within the applicable district or political subdivision. Any candidate for office in the state legislature must be a resident of the district for which he or she is a candidate.

All 35 state Senate seats are up for election in 2020, as are all 70 state House seats. South Dakota state senators and state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years. South Dakota holds elections for its legislature in even-numbered years.

The primary is scheduled for June 2, 2020, and a primary runoff is scheduled for August 11, 2020. The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Entering the 2020 election, the South Dakota State Legislature has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. As of April 29, 2020, there are 21 Republican trifectas, 15 Democratic trifectas, and 14 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.