Redistricting Committee Meeting

The redistricting committee descended upon the state capitol. They approved option A Rausch/Olson with an amendment that made some changes to the northeast districts. A special session of the Legislature will be held Oct. 24 to consider the committee?s recommendations.

Option A - Rausch/Olson proposal


In a recent Argus Leader story by Megan Luther:

Each district ideally would have a population of 23,262, but court rulings have established that it can vary by 5 percent above or below that number.

Redistricting takes place every ten years allowing for adequate representation for constituents in proportion to the state’s fluctuating population from one region to another.

The process can add representation in the Legislature to cities that have grown in population while rural areas that lose residents also can lose representation.

Surprise, surprise:SDDP Chairman Ben Nesselhuf is crying partisanship about the redistricting process.

South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf calls the map: “A blatant attack on South Dakota Citizens’ right to fair representation.”

In my opinion, that’s a hard accusation to make stick considering prior to last November the democrats had 14 of 35 senate seats. In 2010 Democrats lost across the board in areas that are Democratic strongholds. Democrats lost because of liberal democrat’s policies. Democrats currently hold only 5 senate seats in the legislature.

(Is it too late for the SDDP to replace Nesselhuf as Chairman with maybe… Mitch Fargen? Are any of you Dems having buyer’s remorse yet on this guy?)

51 Replies to “Redistricting Committee Meeting”

  1. Spencer

    If anything, Plan A is too fair if you ask me. Why are we forcing five GOP incumbents into primaries and only two Democrats? Obviously, the GOP?s sincere kindness in trying to do the “right thing” here by drawing realistic boundaries that have county-level significance to voters is not appreciated by people like Nessi, anyways. Maybe the GOP should give him something to really complain about with the state Democrats having their clocks cleaned in a newly revised plan that could be muscled through the committee on a 9-3 partisan vote.

  2. Name

    Since becoming chairman, BJ is so ridiculously hyper-partisan that you can’t trust anything dripping out of his mouth.

    This practice is known as “Nesselfluffing,” where the mundane is massaged and inflated, and then shopped to the media.

        1. Arrowhead

          It’s hard to argue fairness when Democrats became an endangered species in SD last cycle.

          Our moderates are pretty darn conservative in this state and our fringe on both sides can be very fringe.

          Especially when dealing with Douseldorf for the SDDP Chairman.

  3. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

    In what ignorant universe does 7 counties in a district make sense? Transplants in Sioux Falls & Rapid City can walk a couple blocks and see all 3 of their legislators; however, rural South Dakotans need to travel hundreds of miles?

    Well, as long as those hard working folks in the city have their legislative clout locked on, because that is what we truly need in this state is more influence by those more moderate folks that came here from other places and want to change SD to be like the places they got away from.

    1. el becerro manso pequeños

      Not much about this process has made a ton of sense. All of these people are in it for themselves only. More partisanship should have been practiced, however the interests of one committee member always trumps the interest of their own party.

    2. PlanningStudent

      What don’t you understand about the fact that some of our counties especially in the northwest are so sparsely populated and that each district needs to have 23K or so people in it… I don’t see how you can find a problem with that or do you just have no idea behind the concept of districts representing roughly the same number of people?

      1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

        Aren’t we all glad the Found Fathers were not as astute as snippy little PS? Did you ever ask yourself PS why the US Senate is based on 2 per state vice simply by population? For the exact same reason we see 7-9 counties combined over hundreds of square miles and the city areas commanding more and more representation while leaving the backbone of SD with sparser say in how the state is run.

        What should have been strived for was an equal mix of rural & city population so that legislators would have to stay in tune with rural SD and so the distance between voters and legislators were diminished as best possible.

        Congratulations though to those that were able to shore up their districts with the voter bases they wanted while keeping soooo many interrelated communities…. connected? Glad Harding & Dewey Counties retained their long standing close knit historic ties vice dividing that area up in half with single representative districts…

        1. PlanningStudent

          Here’s some astuteness for ya, the senate wasn’t based on population because that was the role of the house. Senators were intended to represent their respective state governments and all states were considered equal. Hence two per state and selection by state legislatures. The popular election of senators change the very intent of the senate. America is a republic not a democracy..

          A nice mix of rural and urban sounds nice rosy but how would you implement that in the northwest corner were literally it takes 9 counties to accumulate 23K people.. What distant urban center would be tied to those counties..?

          I think a fun remedy would be that each county gets an equal number of senators while the house is appropriated by population..

          1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

            Equal geographic coverage for Senate, 66 counties / 35 Senators… Don’t mind cutting a couple of those folks into pieces as a little of them goes a long way; however, would cause some problems for our state At Gen.

            Now divide the remaining counties up into single rep districts and we may have something…

      2. Arrowhead

        Why don’t we pay legislators more in SD? I get sick of the grandstanding people like Krebs put on every year about pay.

        Legislators work for peanuts and I would give them a raise.

  4. Troy Jones

    BF, if it takes 7 or 9.5 counties to get 23,000 people, what other choice is there?

    More importantly, I’m shocked at how few counties are split (not counting Pennington, Brown, Coddington, Minnehaha, and Lincoln where it is absolutely inherent because they have more than 23,000 in the county). By my count, it is Butte, Day, and Bon Homme. This is a good thing with regard to cost of elections, efficiency, respect for political boundaries (relationship) over 100 years old.

    My guess is the vast majority of the voters will positively recieve such a plan. Opposition will fall on deaf ears.

  5. Duh

    I feel for the people in rural counties and I feel even worse for the representatives in those counties having to travel thousands of miles to meet with their constituents. That is the unfortunate pain of this state. I really don’t have a solution rather than technological i.e. Skyping coffees/meetings. The reps in rural counties really take it in the shorts money-wise (I know, I know, it’s a public service, but I don’t think you should take a serious monetary loss doing your duties).

    1. Ryan Maher

      I would like to share some thoughts on this issue being in the Senate from the Northwestern part of the state. First off, I am not complaining, I chose to run for this seat and I have been privileged to hold this seat for the past 6 years.

      I live in Isabel, so my eastern boundary is the Missouri River at Mobridge and that is only about 60 miles away. However, the western edge of my district is Belle Fourche and that is right at 150 miles from where I live. Camp Cook is about 130 miles from home. I try to make it to just about every community in the district at least once in a two year cycle, some communities see more of me.

      We get called to Belle Fourche many times a year for evening meetings, and I consider myself lucky because, I have some very good friends in Spearfish and they let me stay at there place. I have been there so much they just leave me a bedroom open. I really don?t have to call them anymore, I just show up. So that saves on hotel expense, the car expense from hitting those deer on the road late at night.

      I remember one year I was coming back home from one of those December meetings in Belle and the temp out side was right at 15 below and then add the wind chill to that, and if anyone has travel between Newell and Faith on Hwy 212, this is one lonely road at midnight on a night like that, you just pray that your car does not break down because you know if it does it will be your last night.

      I figure being in the legislature costs me at least $10,000 to $15,000 a year to do the job. That is gas, hiring help to cover your absent at work, parade candy, etc, etc. The first five year when I was still working at the bank and never used a vacation day for personal reasons, they were all used to do legislative work. But like I said, I have been blessed to live in this great state and so if I can give a little bit back it is worth it in the end.

  6. Duh

    el beccero: Gee, I wonder what party you’re in? Before you know it, will have to choose whether we want to read this blog in english or spanish…. soon to be Chinese thanks to our wonderful president.

    1. el becerro manso pequeños

      I’m not sure how your comment relates to my post. How do you think I’m registered, anyway?

      …and for our Spanish speaking friends:
      No estoy seguro de cómo su comentario se refiere a mi mensaje. ¿Cómo crees que estoy registrado, en todo caso?

  7. Anonymous

    Ben screams “unfair”, but he didn’t say why did he? I suppose it’s because so many of the districts have Republican majorities in them. Unfair? The state has 237,319 registered Reps and 191,451 Dems, giving the Reps a 45,868 lead. On average, each of the 35 legislative districts could have 1,308 more Reps then Dems.

    1. insomniac

      That is a great point!

      I would think the D’s would control a lot of the eastern side of the state though.

      Those registration #’s really makes folks like Daschle, SHS and Johnson look really impressive winning in a state as lopsided as SD.

  8. Lee Schoenbeck

    I am impressed with the committees work in organizing districts along community of interest lines. The northeast districts are as pefect in that regard as you can get, given the rules on population.

    Troy was wrong again – of course — 🙂 I believe Day County didn’t end up being split on the final map due to the the Gosch Ammendment — thanks for taking care of the old home town .

    1. ***Draft Jim Hundstad for US Senate 2014***

      This redistricting stuff is nonsense. I can’t believe how these Republicans have singled out the GREAT Senator Jim Hundstad in an attempt to keep him from running for congress or senate in the future. Senator Hundstad is a strong leader with great oratorical skills.

      One of these cycles we will have the privalege to vote for one of the most eloquent men in SD politics on a statewide level.

      And I hope you have the oppurtunity to hear his lecture about the “3 legged stool of tax. property, sales and income.” It is well worth the 1 1/2 hrs it takes to squeeze every important detail in.

      1. Hundstad v Noem

        I think Noem’s cowboy boots are shaken at just the thought of facing Hundstad. He is a man of deep knowledge and the ability to communicate in a way few have mastered. He might not be a 30 second sound bite candidate but he’s built for the most time consuming important detailed conversation you will ever have.

        I once heard him talk himself out of being pro-life by the end of his speech. Now that is powerful testimony.

  9. Anonymous

    Fargen would have been a much better leader than Nesselfluff. I don’t understand why they went with the most unappealing person they had. Nesselhuf isn’t even reasonable.

    If the Democratic Party was going off a cliff in 2010 at 100 miles per hour Nesselhuf increased the speed 50 mph. Passengers need not buckle up. The SDDP will not survive the train wreck he is bringing upon us.

    If he picked like 3 issues to go after Noem on I think he would resonate but he is all over the map in a silly partisanship game.

    1. Town Halls – Noem does not do them (and she said she would)
    2. Medicare
    3. subsidies and crop insurance for her husbands business.

    Those are the issues to use against Noem.

  10. Bob Mercer

    The map shown isn’t the final map. The final map wasn’t yet available as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 24 hours after the committee finished its work. But it will be posted on the LRC website under Current Interim when the details are done and double-checked.

  11. Spencer

    The committee assigned this task should be given a lot of credit for a final map that follows existing county boundaries. There were groups interested in blowing up the whole map in the name of making minority-as-majority districts. Basically, the committee was told this summer that if they did not accept any of the minority-as-majority district map proposals from the Hollow Horn Bear series that they would have to have a split house delegation in at least one district. They went with the split house delegation in district 28 as 28A/28B to retain regional and county level continuity in as many districts as possible. Thankfully, they did this in order to avoid proposed gerrymandering train wrecks like this:

  12. grudznick

    I might be an old man but why does all this matter to a simple joe like me? One man, one vote, that’s what I say. And these legislatures all pining over how much gravy they can suck in at free breakfasts should be eliminated.

    1. BF

      Grudz, let’s say there are 35 Grudz-like creatures scattered all over SD. If they all live in different districts, there is a chance your ideas can be widely heard, and your position well represented IF all the Grudzes in each district can get elected to the legislature. But if we instead draw lines around all the “Grudzlike” houses and call them all “District G” then you guys will only ever be able to have one vote.

      Conversely, if there is indeed only one Grudz, and his ideas really don’t make any difference to anybody but Grudz, then you’re right, it doesn’t matter how you draw the lines.

      p.s. You should maybe cut down on the gravy in the morning. (At least that’s what the Doc is telling me.)

      1. grudznick

        Are you calling me a registered Democrat, friend Bill?

        Just for that I’m ordering double gravy for you at our next breakfast and then I’m going to take your napkin away.


    The process is the most important part of the GOP. You can not control unless you have a locked in process……………..

  14. Prairie Gadfly

    Somehow I think the dems would have cried gerrymandering foul unless all the districts on the left side of the state had more registered democrats than republicans. Sadly, anyway you cut it…left, center, or right…there just aren’t enough democrats to be relevant anymore.

    1. grudznick

      I’m sure you are right, but that reality seems to be what is driving that young BJ fellow with the complexion issue into his fits of anger.


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