As I continue to look at results from the 2016 South Dakota general election it is time to look at the State Senate races. I’ve updated the page I used to track the legislative general election races. I’ve also updated the SD State Legislators tab above to reflect the new office holders; yes, technically it is just under two months early, but I am gearing up for the 2017 legislative session already. The big story on the state Senate side is that Republicans picked up two seats and seemed to shift further to the right. There is also one race which has a possible recount.
Below is a brief recap of who won each general election State Senate seat, and maybe some comments if a race warrants it. This list does not include any State Senate races where there was not a general election opponent, those races were already recapped back in July. These results are all unofficial until the state canvassing board certifies them next week.
This is a race that many expected to be much closer. Getting almost 40% of the vote as a newcomer is actually pretty good. But I do think this race was winnable for Heidelberger, or at least could have come much closer. I know both candidates, and have respect for both of them. Each of them has their good and bad policy standpoints in my opinion.
Looking a back I think Heidelberger was doing everything he could to get votes. Heidelberger was speaking to local groups about his candidacy and the ballot questions. He spent massive amounts of time going door to door. For a state legislative race he actually raised some pretty good funds. If Heidelberger had stuck to just these activities I believe this race would have been the tight race many expected. That may or may not have been enough to win, but it would have been close in my opinion.
Some will say the negative attack ads sent out by the SD GOP against Heidelberger tipped the balance towards Novstrup. Personally I don’t think the postcards did much, if anything. I believe what kept this from being a tight race is the same thing that caused Hillary Clinton to lose some support: social justice warriors. Heidelberger is a social justice warrior and is not afraid to use political correctness as a tool while blogging or speaking to groups. I believe this cost him a lot of votes. I’ve actually spoken with a handful of long-time Democrats in Aberdeen who were turned away from Heidelberger for often throwing out words such as bigoted, racists, misogynist, sexists, etc… Using those terms to label opponents does a great job of getting his base supporters excited, but it pushes people away who might have otherwise listened to his message. I think if the 2016 election proves anything it is that people on the whole are sick of political correctness being used to shut down discussions.
This was another race I thought would be much closer. Both candidates have name recognition in the district and both candidates were out working hard. I’m not sure if the negative ads against Tyler gave Wiik the advantage, or if the voters of District 4 could relate to Wiik’s conservative message. Either way this was a big loss for the Democrats as this seat in the State Senate was flipped to the Republicans.
This was an exciting race to watch on Tuesday night. The two candidates were going back and forth for first place as the precincts came in. And it ended within recount range. I haven’t heard yet if Parsley has asked for a recount. 94 votes is very close, but I’m not sure it is close enough for a recount to change the results. This is a hard loss for the Democrats in the State Senate. Going into this I thought Youngberg would get close, but didn’t really think he had a chance of unseating Parsley. This race does show incumbents can be defeated in South Dakota.
This is a race I didn’t think would be close. But wow, this was a fun race to watch on Tuesday night. At times it looked as if Rusch could lose his seat. In then end Rusch gained back a good lead. But it was a pretty tough race for an incumbent. This might be a district to keep an eye on in the 2018 election.
Proponents of this amendment called it an anti-gerrymandering law. Republicans fought hard against this particular amendment. I personally supported the amendment, but I don’t think it would have done much to change the makeup of elected officials in Pierre.
Here are the unofficial results of Amendment T:
Amendment T died pretty hard. A big part of the problem proponents had trying to get this amendment passed is the fact people don’t know, or generally care, how legislative redistricting is done. From an open government standpoint Amendment V was probably a good change, but in the end I don’t think it really matter whether it passed or not.
Amendment U was created by the payday industry to protect itself from Initiated Measure 21 (which passed and caps payday loans at 36%). The important part of U would have placed in the SD Constitution that payday loan interest rates cannot be capped if there is a written contract. Of course all payday loans have written contracts.
Here are the unofficial results of Amendment U:
U didn’t get defeated quite as soundly as I thought it would. But I do think the payday loan industry bringing U forward might have tipped the scale on IM 21 passing. Hopefully this is the last we see of this amendment.
Amendment V was touted as a way to have nonpartisan elections in South Dakota. I believe the original proponents of the amendment were doing so to help more Democrats get elected in South Dakota. At first I supported the measure, mostly because I am annoyed taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for private party elections. But I did change my mind and went against V. The main reason for going against V is that I believe it would have done the opposite of what proponents believe, and would have made it even harder for non-establishment candidates to even get to the general election.
Here are the unofficial results of Amendment V
I actually thought this one would finish much closer than it did. But just like with Amendment T, proponents of the law have to take time to explain how the current system works before trying to sell the change in Amendment V. Plus of all the measures I think the Republican party fought the hardest against Amendment V.
Personally I would have preferred an Amendment to just get taxpayer dollars out of the primary election altogether. Let the parties fund their own partisan elections.
Initiated Measure 23 – Union dues for non-union members
I had a feeling IM 23 would be soundly defeated. It died even harder than I thought it would. Here are the unofficial results:
Almost 80% of the voters saying no sends a pretty sound message. I never thought SD would undo right-to-work by allowing unions to charge dues to non-members. Personally I see a lot of value in unions in certain cases; but it is up to those unions to provide value to their members and make the case that everyone should want to pay dues.
Referred Law 19 – Election reform destroyed by the legislative process
I was happy to see RL 19 fail. The original bill Secretary of State Shantel Krebs brought forth was a good one. There were a couple of tweaks that probably should have been made to make it a better law. But then the legislative process went awry and turned a good bill to streamline the petition process into a bill aimed at making it harder for people to run for office. Hopefully Secretary Krebs tries her original idea again; and more importantly, hopefully the legislature doesn’t destroy that idea once again.
Here are the unofficial results of RL 19:
RL 19 was a hard one to explain the mechanics of to voters. I think that fact alone meant the death of RL 19.
I never thought RL 20 would pass. When the voters set the minimum wage two years ago it included that increase for everyone. The legislature decided to exempt the youth from that minimum wage increase. In the end the voters decided the minimum wage increase should be applied equally to all workers.
Here are the final results for RL 20:
Actually the youth having a higher minimum wage may have helped some teenagers. Many people who hire temp labor during the summer for odd jobs will now just pay cash in the grey market. This leaves more money in the pocket of the teenager, while letting the person doing the hiring avoid having to file and pay wage earning taxes.
South Dakota voters had ten ballot questions to vote on this election cycle. The ballot questions which passed a majority vote were Amendment R, Amendment S, Initiated Measure 21, and Initiated Measure 22. In this post I will look briefly at those four ballot questions. The other six ballot measures I’ll cover in a post later today.
Amendment R – New governing board for the Tech Schools
Of all the ballot questions this was the hardest for me to call ahead of time. There really wasn’t any organized effort to stop this ballot question, but then at the same time the effort to pass it wasn’t that great either. Here is my post originally looking at Amendment R.
Before speaking about the amendment it is worth looking at the election results:
Amendment R won, but just barely. Now that Amendment R is signed into law the legislature will have to decide what to do with this modification to the SD State Constitution.
Currently the SD State Constitution puts higher education under the Board of Regents, which manages the state’s Universities. But the Tech Schools are currently managed by local school boards. This has created a situation where many, including myself, believe the Tech Schools should have been placed under the Board of Regents. Another part of the current problem for the Tech Schools is funding. Since the Tech Schools fall under K-12, the Tech Schools feel they do not get a seat at the table during the budgetary process. And thus they feel like they are getting table scraps. That was a big part of the proponent push for Amendment, to allow the Tech Schools to get a seat at the budgetary table and grow the Tech Schools in a way that can compliment the workforce needs in South Dakota.
With Amendment R passed there is no longer a constitutional question about whether the Board of Regents should have control over the Tech Schools. It is now up to the legislature to decide what to do. The legislature may decide to create a new board to direct the Tech Schools; that is the most likely outcome. The big question there is how many resources (dollars) will be given to this board and will it be allowed to become as bloated as the Board of Regents. It is also possible the legislature could decide to place the Tech Schools under the Board of Regents and force that same Board of Regents to reorganize to accommodate this change. This second option is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the legislature will create a new board to direct the future of the Tech Schools, but still leave them under the Board of Education and share a budget with K-12 education.
No matter which solution the legislature comes up with I think the biggest question is how budgeting will work. How much money will be needed to implement whatever solution the legislature comes with? Will money be taken from the Department of Education or Board of Regents to help create this new future for the Tech Schools? Will the legislature have to look for new revenue streams to fund a new direction for the Tech Schools? Amendment R passing created just the first step in changing the direction of Tech Schools in South Dakota. It should be interesting following what happens with Tech Schools in the legislature.
I’m not really surprised by this. Voting to create constitutionally protected rights for crime victims sounds good. Just like with Amendment R, Amendment S really didn’t have any organized opposition. There are many, such as myself, who felt there might be some unintended consequences with Amendment S. But even that opposition was soft. It should be interesting to see how, if at all, the passage of Amendment S will impact the justice system in South Dakota. Even though I was opposed to Marsy’s Law, I truly hope it will do what proponents of the law say it will do. It is an issue I would be happy to say I was wrong on! Now the legislature needs to get to work ensuring codified law aligns with the provisions of this Constitutional Amendment.
With 75% of the people voting for IM 21 there was a strong message sent to the payday loan industry that people don’t like their current interest rates. IM 21 will cap the interest rates at 36%. IM 21 also has a provision to prevent payday lenders from trying disguise payday loans as something else in order to get around that 36% interest cap. The big question now is whether IM 21 will in fact kill the payday loan industry in South Dakota as many people believed. It is also worth watching to see if the industry finds a way around IM 21 to continue operating as normal in South Dakota. If the industry is not able to do so, I predict IM 21 passing will be a boon for the pawn industry.
IM 22 just barely passed. I actually thought this was going to fail, and still wish it would have. The title of the bill does sound good, who wants to be against revising campaign finance, holding lobbyists accountable, and creating an ethics commission. But that isn’t all there is to IM 22. Read my original post about IM 22 to learn more about it. I really though the “publicly funded campaign finance program” would kill this. Giving taxpayer dollars directly to politicians for campaigning just doesn’t seem like something I expected South Dakota voters to pass.
Now that IM 22 has been signed into law the legislature will have to find $12,000,000 during the budgetary process to appropriate towards “democracy credits”. That will be interesting to watch as the current fiscal year already has lower than expected revues. This is a topic I expect to blog more about as time goes on, so I’ll cut this post short…
Earlier I did a brief post about Trump winning South Dakota. Now it is time to look at the other three statewide races in South Dakota. All three of these races are strong Republican wins. This is another post I’ll keep short; basically these races were quite boring…
Incumbent Republican John Thune had a sound victory over Democrat challenger Jay Williams. Here are unofficial results:
At first I was surprised Thune didn’t top 75% of the vote. But perhaps his speaking against Trump crated some blowback and caused him to get just under 72% of the vote. All I can really say about this race is that at least Thune didn’t go unopposed, as he did six years ago. If any non-Republican is going to take a Senate seat in South Dakota they will have a better chance in 2020, when Senator Mike Rounds is up for reelection.
Incumbent Republican Kristi Noem once again defended her seat from the Democrats. This time the Democrats had Paula Hawks on the ballot, who managed to get just over 35% of the vote.
I thought Hawks might get a few more percentage points to receive just under 40% of the vote. But for the most part I don’t think most of the state even cares about this race. That makes me wonder just how much support Noem will have if she does run for Governor in 2018…
Public Utilities Commissioner
Finally, the big winner of the night is Republican Chris Nelson to win his reelection for Public Utilities Commissioner. Nelson won the election by receiving just over 75% of the vote over Democrat challenger Henry Red Cloud.
Nelson winning so strong should be no surprise to anyone. Back during his tenure as Secretary of State Nelson was well liked. I also think Red Cloud may have hurt himself by stating his opposition to pipelines. That is a talking point that may get Red Cloud’s base excited, but not necessarily the state as a whole.
It is November 9. That means the election is over! It is time for me start doing a few post-election articles looking at the results in South Dakota. To kick things off I will do a short post about the US Presidential race. I’m sure everyone has heard by now that Donald Trump is now President-Elect.
Here are the unofficial results of the Presidential race in South Dakota (unofficial until the state canvass board validates the results):
It is no surprise Trump won South Dakota. I don’t think there was any possible path to victory for Hillary Clinton in South Dakota. Gary Johnson put up a respectful fight by getting over 5% of the vote for the Libertarian Party. I thought Johnson might get a couple of percentage points higher, but I think some who might have voted for Johnson decided they couldn’t risk a Hillary win. And rounding up the final spot is Darrell Castle for the Constitution Party. 1% really isn’t bad for a candidate who had almost no coverage.
The graphic below shows how overwhelming the victory for Trump was in South Dakota At the time of this post the numbers for Oglala County are not included in this graph. The graph should be updated soon. Oglala County is Blue.
Clinton was only able to win five out of sixty-six counties in South Dakota. I think that is a resounding rejection of Clinton in South Dakota.
Over the next few days, weeks, months, and possibly years political pundits will try to explain how Trump won this election. Personally I think Trumps victory came down to winning the following groups (beyond the Republicans that would vote for him anyhow):
Voters tired of the establishment. Clinton is very much the establishment.
Blue collar workers, especially union workers that have traditionally supported Democrats, believing Trump will work hard to bring manufacturing back.
Voters upset with Clinton’s end justifies the means way of advancing her agenda. Many people did not see Clinton as having any sort of moral high ground in this election. Wikileaks helped to highlight this aspect of Clinton.
People tired of social justice warriors and political correctness.
On that last point above, I don’t think Clinton really counts as a social justice warrior. But Clinton was backed by many social justice warriors and people who use political correctness to try shutting down cultural debates. Being politically correct is something Trump will likely never be accused of. I believe a large block of swing voters went for Trump just for that reason, especially in South Dakota. Democrat politicians might want to keep that in mind for future elections.
I think that is about all I’ll say about the Presidential election. The South Dakota races and ballot questions deserve some attention. I will admit though it seem weird to picture a President Trump.
Earlier I posted a recap of the statewide races in South Dakota. I really haven’t focused on those elections much this year. Instead I have focused more on ballot questions and state legislative races. Those are far more interesting. For the people who haven’t voted yet I have links setup on my website to help people research their ballot options.
Up first is my SD 2016 Ballot Questions page. There I have links to study each of the ballot questions. I’ve also included how I am likely to vote on each ballot question. The only ballot question I’ve changed my opinion on this election season is Amendment V. At first I was hesitantly supportive of V, but now I feel a no vote is better. Either way I don’t think V will fix what the proponents of the Amendment think it will fix….
The other page is want to highlight is my SD 2016 Statewide Races page. This includes links to research every legislative candidate. It also includes links to research candidates that don’t actually have a general election race (just in case voters want to know about who has already won the race). Clicking the name of a candidate or SoDakLiberty link under a candidate’s name will bring up my posts about that candidate.
Hopefully these resources will help anyone who plans to vote on November 8.
Tomorrow is election day. Even though 2016 is likely to set records for early voting in South Dakota, there are still a lot of people waiting until Election Day to actually cast their vote. To help those people out I will do a few recap posts to help voters understand their choices at the poll box. This post will focus on the three statewide races in South Dakota. I’ve also included links at the bottom of this post for anyone wishing to learn more about the four Presidential candidates on the ballot in South Dakota.
Republican incumbent Senator John Thune is up for reelection. This time the Democrats were able to get a challenger when Jay Williams entered the race. I really haven’t blogged a lot about this race. But I did publish the four following posts looking at the debates between Thune and Williams:
Republican incumbent Kristi Noem is being challenged by Democrat Paula Hawks for South Dakota’s lone US House seat. This is another race I didn’t really give a lot of attention to, mostly because I was focused on state legislative races. Here are a couple of posts I did publish for this race:
In the debates Hawks definitely seemed to pivot to the conservative side of the Democrat party; especially when compared to Williams in the US Senate race. It will be interesting to see how the Democrat party reacts to such an approach going into the 2018 election…
The Public Utilities Commissioner races pits incumbent Republican Chris Nelson against challenging Democrat Henry Red Cloud. This is a race I have given no coverage; it just fell completely off my radar as I focused on state legislative races.
For anyone that wants to research this race I have links below to help with that.
There are four candidates that made it on the ballot in South Dakota. South Dakota is a winner-takes-all state, meaning whichever candidate gets the majority of the vote will get all three of South Dakota’s electoral votes.
Here are links to learn more about the candidates; these are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.
Occasionally on this blog I’ll post songs or playlists in regards to certain topics. It has been a while since I’ve done so, and a long-time reader of the blog asked if I would create a top five playlist for the 2016 Presidential Election. Well, here it is:
5 – Queen – I’m Going Slightly Mad
Up first is a song from Queen. It isn’t one of their bigger hits, but yet it somehow sums up this Presidential race quite nicely:
4 – Genesis – Land of Confusion
The second song on this playlist comes from Genesis, with Phil Collins on the mic. This video may have been made during the Reagan administration, but still somehow seems almost more relevant today than it did back in the 80’s. Plus I always though this video was great for including Bonzo; somehow I think Bonzo would have fit in during the 2016 Presidential race.
3 – Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction
Speaking of nuclear war. Somehow it seems Barry McGuire wrote this next song in 2016. This song seems to apply to both of the major candidates…
2 – Ten Years After – I’d Love To Change The World
Coming into the fourth spot in this playlist is Ten Years After. Another song that seems to have been written in 2016, one I feel many can relate to.
Finally, to end this playlist I think a song from almost 80 years ago is appropriate. This is from Spike Jones and the City Slickers. Whole posts could be written comparing this song to the 2016 election…
1 – Spike Jones and the City Slickers – William Tell Overture
Bonus Song from Spike Jones
This is a great clip from the All Star Review back in 1952. About half way through the song is a bit from one of his performers that seems to sum up voting in this election (the sock myself guy).
And A Bonus Jim Backus Track
Yes, the previous video included Jim Backus. Here is a song Backus released in 1959:
Reason TV published a video highlighting six things to pay attention to in the 2016 election. The video highlights various ballot questions from around the country. South Dakota makes this list with Referred Law 20 (RL 20). RL 20 would create a separate youth minimum wage. Personally I’m voting yes to RL 20, mostly because I feel minimum wage laws are more harmful to consumers than the benefits people perceive from wage controls. But I do understand many people will vote no RL 20 either because they believe youth should have the same minimum wage as adults and that RL 20 goes against what the voters agreed on in 2014.
Here is the video from Reason TV. It also highlights some other national issues which are likely to come to SD in the future.
I just had a long conversation with a group of voters in Aberdeen and one person asked when ballot questions approved by the voters would become effective. The simple answer to her question was that Constitutional amendments, initiated measures, and referred laws receiving a majority of the vote will become effective the day after the official State Canvasing occurs. This year the State Canvas is scheduled for November 15. That means any ballot questions passed by the voters will likely be enacted on November 16.
Notice I said “likely” in the above paragraph. There is a possibility that a recount could hold the process up. Nielson Brothers Polling (NBP) released some poll numbers for South Dakota on October 31. That poll showed Amendment V, the Constitutional amendment that would create a non-partisan top-two primary election, at a tie with 38% supporting, 38% opposing, and 24% undecided. If that dead heat becomes a reality on November 8, South Dakota may have one of the ballot questions held up for a recount. Personally I don’t think that will happen, and V will just barely fail. But this is such a weird election year that anything can happen!
The other thing to note, especially with the Constitutional amendments, is that things won’t necessarily change immediately due to a ballot question passing. The legislature will have to change laws currently on the books that are impacted by any ballot question enacted by the voters. In particular some of the Constitutional Amendments would require almost a rewrite to portions of state election law. Then the administrative rules regarding any of the passed ballot question would have to be updated. Plus some of the ballot questions would likely get legal challenges right way if passed by the voters. IM 23, which would force non-union members to pay dues, is a good example of a ballot question that will likely attract legal challenges.
But back to the original question. Any of the ballot questions passed by the voters will take effect on November 16 as long as they are not held up for a recount. And some of them may receive legal challenges even if they are enacted. It could technically happen sooner if all of the counties get their results canvassed and the state board of canvassers completes its job sooner than November 15. November 15 happens to be the deadline for the state board of canvassers to do their job.