For roughly 40 years and half-a-dozen Governors, the Republican Governor has hand-selected the chairman for the South Dakota Republican Party, either through explicit endorsement or by direct recruitment.
For the first time in that same 40 years, a significant challenge has arisen to challenge that status quo. In a contest that has arose as a surprise itself to many seasoned observers, arguably the biggest surprise just dropped in the race today.
In an e-mailed letter released by Dan Lederman today, Republican National Committeewoman Sandye Kading of Rapid City, and Republican National Committeeman (and former State Senator) Ried Holien of Watertown have announced their support of Lederman for the position of Chair of the State Party over the current chairwoman Pam Roberts:
As noted in the letter, the pair state “While we support Dan based on his qualifications, we made the commitment to publicly endorse Dan after the current Chair told each of us the week of President Trump’s inauguration that she was not going to run again for the SDGOP Chairmanship. Dan enthusiastically wants the job, and he has the experience and passion to lead our party into a successful future.”
Governor Daugaard, and Senators Thune, Rounds and Congresswoman Noem signed a letter endorsing Pam Roberts for the office on January 24th.
Among the party faithful, the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman arguably represent the highest state party offices aside from only the party chairman, as they represent the South Dakota State Republican Party at the national level for party functions and duties.
The positions are elected every four years at the State Republican party convention and at the moment, represent the highest elected offices conventions delegates have chosen from their ranks.
With the elections to be held at the Pierre Chamber of Commerce offices on Saturday the 11th, could the selection of the office of party chairman be returned to a decision of the same grassroots? We shall see.