With an open seat available in his legislative district, GOP stalwart Larry Nielson was a natural for running for the open seat, having given a prior run for the House in 2014 where he came in 3rd.
But no one shared that memo with Bryan Breitling, a school board member from Miller, SD.
Except for a short job out of college, and a tour overseas in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Breitling had spent most of his childhood and adult life in the District. And he was ready to make a leap for something bigger than school board.
A meticulous planner with an eye for detail, Breitling, a professional health care administrator and current chairman of SDAHO was well organized, and able to raise sufficient funds for his planned effort, while Nielson might have had fewer resources at his disposal in the campaign, which could not be supplanted with door to door in this environment.
Understanding that the primary IS the race in this majority Republican District, Breitling put all of his resources into winning the first part of this race. But it was hard fought.
Nielson won in Campbell, Faulk, Spink and Walworth counties, but Breitling prevailed with significant margins in the larger counties of Hand & McPherson, in sufficient numbers to propel him over the top, providing him a 56-44% victory.