Is Christine Erickson ready to throw her hat in the in the ring for Sioux Falls Mayor?

A year and a half ago now, I’d written about the Sioux Falls Mayoral contest, and noted a few things…

While this is a non-partisan municipal race, don’t kid yourself. It’s anything but non-partisan, and this has been exacerbated during Huether’s tenure. And the battle lines are often drawn this way with major blocs of voters falling along those lines.

On the Republican side of the coin, three major contenders stick out;

And on the Democratic Side, we have four people rising to the top of contention:

There are other names floating around out there, but none that seem to rise to the level of being taken seriously, or they actively disavow any interest in running, such as former legislator Christine Erickson who is in her first term of office.

Read that here. As time has passed, so has the electoral calculus. Since I first wrote about it, I believe Paul Ten Haken has taken himself out of consideration, due to his business responsibilities. Greg Jamison is newly elected as a state legislator, and may find extending his tenure there to be to his advantage. Pat Costello is back in Sioux Falls, himself with new and expanded business responsibilities.

On the Dem side, No one is really talking about Hildebrandt running anymore. Erpenbach’s name comes up on occasion for the office, but Kenny Anderson’s doesn’t. Nor does Darren Smith’s.

Christine_EBut what I do keep hearing – and did so again tonight – is that former Republican Legislator Christine Erickson who had said “no” before might be softening her no into a “maybe.”  And it might be a strong maybe at that.

Erickson had served in Pierre in the state legislature, and took a step back to be closer to home and family.  But her ability to get things done, her intelligence, as well as her charisma have kept her in the spotlight, and as a go to person for statewide officials who want to share the stage with her when they’re in Sioux Falls.

Even local media curmudgeons such as Stu Whitney have sang her praises as a public official who is going places:

“She’s a refreshing new voice, and she’s got moxie,” says fellow council member and former Sioux Falls mayoral candidate Greg Jamison. “Because of her experience in the legislature, she understands the technique of debate and communication. Some of us get involved in personal issues and egos, but she sees it as issue-based and doesn’t let that stuff get out of hand.”


Erickson has made her presence felt with substance rather than bombast, standing firm on issues such as city pool rates and free summer bus rides for low-income kids. Much of her impact occurs behind the scenes and with measured dialogue rather than fire-and-brimstone exchanges.

“My style is not to be on the front page off the newspaper every day, but I’m always there to speak up when needed,” she says. “There are times when I get frustrated or angry, but I don’t think you gain a lot in the process when you’re disrespectful.”

Read it all here.

Christine EricksonErickson’s issue based approach on the council has been more aspirational and less confrontational than some of her colleagues. And she’s taken the lead on such issues as reworking laws and regulations to move Sioux Falls into the future with things the rest of the country enjoys such as Uber.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover between now between and the 2018 mayoral election, but Erickson might have a winning formula to bring together the disparate groups of the Sioux Falls electorate to build the winning coalition that escaped Greg Jamison and Kermit Staggers against Democrat Mike Huether.

At the very least, the rumored willingness to give the 2018 mayoral contest consideration has re-written the calculus of how the voting in the contest might go.

And if things progress beyond that? An official entrance into the race may very well give her a leap ahead of her peers.

28 thoughts on “Is Christine Erickson ready to throw her hat in the in the ring for Sioux Falls Mayor?”

  1. Christine you have a chance to propel SF into the 22nd Century. Dotting every I and crossing every T is second nature!
    How can WE Help ???

  2. Brendan Johnson would make a great Mayor of Sioux Falls. Seriously. He proved himself to be a good executive as US Attorney, and a lot of Republicans would vote for him in a non-partisan (or partisan race).

    1. Brendan would be a good candidate if he could risk losing. He’s obviously afraid.

      The best he and Stephanie have to offer is that they both run at the same time for different seats and hope one of them wins.

  3. Christine would have my support!

    It will be interesting to see this race develop. It hasn’t really been talked about much (mostly because of the crazy 2016 election and the 2018 Gov speculation) but this is next big race now, at least for us political junkies in Sioux Falls. I hope to hear of some more names considering it. I’d love to see Christine get in, but if she doesn’t how about someone like Schlekeway? And is Costello out now with his new job?

    And I’ll throw this out there just for fun: would Mickelson consider running for Mayor? It would be far less time away from his family since he wouldn’t have to be traveling across the state and he’s clearly stated that he still enjoys public service.

    1. Schlekeway is a name I have not heard in a while. He was the hot ticket several years back. He would be strong.

      He is also another person who would likely blow the doors off of Dusty Johnson in a congressional race. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Schlekeway.

  4. Christine is a fine individual. I’m not sure that she’s ready for Mayor of Sioux Falls and all of this foolish talk is not doing her any good.

    I spoke with Jamison recently and he flat out indicated that he was running for Mayor. At least that’s the way I took it.

    He’d be a fool not to run. He did much better than most Republicans expected at a 45% showing against Huether. If he runs again he will win. If he passes he will never get another chance.

  5. I have heard party leaders in Pierre mention Pat Costello as a likely candidate and someone they want. He is at the bottom of my lists.

    1. anyone Pierre recommends I will vote against…we need some fresh ideas and people. Jamison and Erickson re both better.

  6. Pat Powers , it would be foolish to to say Kenny Anderson is not interested. It is clear he is interested. Your statement on him is simply not based in reality.

    1. Pat didn’t say that Kenny wasn’t interested. He said, referring to talk about Democratic candidates for SF mayor: “Erpenbach’s name comes up on occasion for the office, but Kenny Anderson’s doesn’t.”

  7. One thing that is funny is whether it be Governor, House, Senate and now Mayor of Sioux Falls, the only best Democrat candidates offered are Brendan Johnson or Stephanie Herseth.

    On the hand, for every race, the GOP has 2 or 3 potential strong candidates who have all run for election and been winning for the past 8 years.

    Need any more proof on the depth of the respective benches?

    1. But you guys had a deep presidential bench in 2016, yet you guys still came up with Trump….(?)

        1. Actually, she did beat him by over 2.2 million votes. It is just some white men from the 18th century who are telling us that Trump won (Or was it the Russians? I wonder what server they used? Their own from their basement?). 😉

          1. Didn’t Hillary know the rules when she entered the Presidential campaign or did she A) forget them like she forgot that she was briefed on how to handle classified materials or B) the rules were left on her server and deleted in the missing 33,000 emails?

            1. So in other words, you are all up in arms right now about the idea of Trump considering Petraeus for SOS, right?

              Don’t try to blame me for Hillary or her actions. I am an Elizabeth Warren Democrat!

              But what about this Russian thing, though. Do you think it has any merit or is it just the Democrats Benghazi?….hahahahaha

  8. I would add Rob Oliver, Jim Entenman, Dean Karsky, Pat Star and Theresa Stehly to the list of potential candidates.

    1. I think when it is all said and done, Erickson will be the next mayor. The “Powers that be”( Not you Pat, 😉 ) in Sioux Falls have been grooming her for the job for sometime like they did with Munson back in the day.

      She has played a smart game so far. She was involved in and on the winning side of the “Save the Summer” school schedule vote in Sioux Falls a few years ago. She initially was acquiescent to the anti administration building movement in this town and the GOP is constantly trying to show case her.

      Plus, it will be easy for her image makers to build a “Hollywood mystique” around her, which increasingly has become a part of our politics. She is a kid sister to Adam Vinatieri of Super Bowl fame and her husband use to date January Jones in High School at Roosevelt (Did someone say Hollywood mystique?).

      Oh yeah, Munson II is just around the corner…..

  9. TBFKaW, the Framers rightfully intended for the states to elect the President via the Electoral College. Trump campaigned to win the states he needed and the popular vote margin for HRC came from the uncontested states of CA, NY and IL.

    1. Adam,

      The Framers intended to create a balance between the mostly southern land gentry versus the northern speculators, who were also landowners, in the election of our presidents through the electoral college.

      Now keep in mind, that there was a time when these two constituencies were the only ones, which mattered politically. Because there was a time when only landowners in many parts of the country could vote.

      But today, we are a much more pluralistic country and we have enfranchised since our Framers’ time, non land owners, minorities, and women. And to have an electoral process, which is limited or single dimensional relative to the multi dimensional qualities of our modern political system is lacking in purpose and relevance.

      Now, a case can be made that the brilliance of the Framers can be found in the fact that the “Brexit States” or the “Rust Belt States” spoke in this election and thus swayed the election in away which empowered certain states or regions of the county in the election of our president as our Framers would want from time to time, even if they are in the minority of the popular vote. But to accept this argument, then one has to be a fan of what I call 18th century affirmative action, where a minority, in this case certain states, are given a hand up to compete and effect.

      Now, I do consider my self as who one understands, respects, and believes in the application of affirmative action where needed. However, when the choice is between a 18th century form of affirmative action, which empowers a political state, versus a modern form of affirmative action, which empowers and enfranchises many more, then I will choose the latter. Because I wish to live in a democratic society that empowers people over the state in most every case.

      When the legal principle of “The Rule against Perpetuity” came into place centuries ago, legal scholars argued that “dead hand control” should not dictate the creation of trusts. By analogy, the electoral college today is doing just that. It is allowing the Framers to have a “dead hand control” of the modern electoral process of our presidency with a logic which fits the political reality of a 18th century America and not a 21st Century America.

      As a side note, “The Rule against Perpetuity” was ended under Janklow’s reign in the early 1980s in South Dakota and is the reason why “Dynasty Trusts” are now allowed to flourish in South Dakota today – a concept, which protects the rich from the realities of our time just as the electoral college protects the ideas of our Framers, who only cared about white men who were landowners and had no intentions to care about the America we have become today, which overtime has enfranchised many more than just the white guys with some property…..

  10. This next mayor will have some very big challenges to tackle as our city grows. Managing growth is difficult, which is exactly why the timing is not great for me to run as my company is in a similar growing pain position. Good pains, but pain nonetheless!

    I think Christine would be an amazing candidate for many reasons. I have also heard Erica Beck’s name in some recent discussions. She’d be more of an outsider with her main public service stint being in city hall under Munson. Kevin Nyberg is another.

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