If you haven’t been paying attention, the primary election season is set to get a little wild.. and I’m hearing they’re not done teeing things up. Currently by my reckoning, there’s a total of
eight nine Republican State Senate primaries, and 12 primary races for the State House of Representatives. And from what I’m told, we could see more pop up.
Here’s what I’m tracking in the short term in the Senate:
District 6 – Herman Otten versus Isaac Latterell: This one could get interesting, as Latterell’s strength was always his door to door ability. Which, courtesy of the coronavirus, that aspect is now effectively negated. With that opening, Otten may be able to push a message out past his competitor.
District 12 – Curd v. Steele: This one may not materialize, as it was questioned if Steele was filing to make sure the seat was filled. But, who knows?
District 14 – Larry Zikmund v. Dave Zellmer: This will be one to watch, as Zellmer has a statewide following, versus Zikmund’s experience & relatively inoffensive voting record. Both are pretty solid people. We’ll see who can make a campaign happen in this environment.
District 17 – Art Rusch v. Nancy Rasmussen: Well, shoot. Former judge Art Rusch is a bastion of the Vermillion community, and a pretty good guy. And Nancy Rasmussen is eminently and equally likable as well. Ugh. I hate seeing either of them lose, but there can be only one who wins..
District 21 – Lee Qualm v. Erin Tobin: This had been a very safe seat for Senator Rocky Blare, elected in 2018. But with term limits capping Rep. Lee Qualm’s run in the House, Senator Rocky took a step back to allow his district mate Rep. Qualm continue his political run. He was a shoe-in, right?
But this session Rep. Qualm insanely introduced an anti-vaccination measure that would have made it a class one misdemeanor to require school children and health care employees to be vaccinated against measles and polio, etc., which rankled the state’s entire healthcare community. That happened to coincide with health care provider Erin Tobin (daughter-in-law of longtime Winner SDGOP activist Tom Tobin) deciding she had a strong interest in seeking the Senate seat herself. And then coronavirus happened. This is not a good set of circumstances for the outgoing House majority leader.
District 23 – Bryan Breitling v. Larry Nielson: With Senator John Lake passing on a full term in the Senate, the seat opened up, and two stepped up. Bryan Breitling of Miller, current Chairman of the SDAHO organization and Larry Nielson of Tulare, who had ran for District 23 House a few years back are both competing for the seat.
District 29 – Gary Cammack v. Terri Jorgenson: Here’s another case of two good Republicans competing for the same seat. Incumbent State Senator Gary Cammack is a long-time businessman, and involved with the SD Retailers organization. Terri Jorgenson is a retired military officer, vice-chair of the Meade County GOP, and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Again.. hating having to see either of them lose.
District 33 – Dave Johnson v. Janet Jensen: Dave Johnson has served in the House for several years now, and I don’t think a year hasn’t gone by without him being under hard fire by any number of a certain group of the hard right in Rapid City. With one of them – Phil Jensen – being termed out of the Senate, Dave seemingly had a free run to the GOP Nomination. … but not so fast. Now he has to face Phil’s wife. They’ll likely try to make Dave bloody… again… but they’ll be doing so without the advantage of an established candidate.
That’s what’s on deck in the Senate as of this moment.. but don’t consider it done. I’m hearing of at least three to four more possibilities for Senate primaries. And that’s counting the ones we know about.. there are some popping in these races out of nowhere, so this could explode in the next few days.
UPDATE.. No quicker did I post this, then we added one…
District 31 – Tim Johns v John Teupel: former Judge Tim Johns is moving up from the House, but a late entrance into the race just occurred this morning from former State Representative John Teupel.