Today the South Dakota Libertarian Party held its state convention in Sioux Falls South Dakota. It was an interesting event; one which will give me a series of blog posts to do over the next week. This post will focus on the Constitutional offices that were filled by the Libertarians at this event. This post won’t have much details in it; that will have to wait for a couple of days when I have more time.
Here are the candidates that are going to be on the ballot this fall. This list is compiled in the order their nominations were completed.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (6 yr) – Ryan Gaddy. Ryan is a Sioux Falls area activist. His opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and support of keeping the Internet unregulated are notable stances. He will be facing incumbent Republican Gary Hansen, Constitution Party Candidate Wayne Schmidt, and Democrat candidate David Allen.
South Dakota Secretary of State (4 yr) – Emmett Reistroffer. Emmett is a Sioux Falls area political activist with experience in elections. He can draw on his election experience in an attempt to improve the election process within the State. His battle will be tough however. The Republican candidate, Shantel Krebs, is very intelligent and hard-working. Plus there are two other candidates that have the potential of gaining support if voters every hear from them: Lori Stacy of the Constitution Party and Angelia Schultz of the Democrat Party.
South Dakota Attorney General (4 yr) – Chad Haber. This was an odd choice. Many had hoped to block his attempt at winning the AG nomination (including me). He will draw on the experience of him and his wife being targeted by the current AG to show a non-lawyer should hold the position. Law does not require the AG to be a lawyer, and in fact Haber makes the case that perhaps a watchdog AG that isn’t part of the current legal system would be better. I am still undecided about his attainment of this office. I will try to keep an open mind, but also keep a close eye on his campaign. Maybe he will surprise us doubters and end up being a great candidate…. It should be noted that Haber is the only competition to the current Republican AG Jackley on this falls ballot.
South Dakota State Auditor (4 yr) – Kurt Evans. Earlier in the AG debate Evans had focused on transparency in Pierre. I believe he will draw upon transparency as a top issue in the Auditor race. Kurt is the only candidate running against incumbent Steve Barnett.
South Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands (4 yr) – John English. English was an unexpected surprise at the convention. He spoke of Austrian economics and seems quite capable to run for this position. His opposition is the current Deputy Commissioner Ryan Brunner.
South Dakota Treasurer (4 yr) – Ken Santema – Astute regular readers of this blog may notice that is my name. Yes, I am the candidate for treasurer. I have experience in the accounting industry and have ideas to improve the unclaimed properties procedures. Also in this race is the incumbent Republican Richard Sattgast and Democrat candidate Dennis Pierson.
With those six positions filled the Libertarian Party of South Dakota was able to place a candidate in each of the Constitutional offices. That is somewhat notable because even the South Dakota Democrat Party was not able to attain that status. It is not all roses for the SD Libertarian Party however. After the election this fall the SDLP will have to collect signatures to regain official party status. The party will lose its status after 2014 because it failed to field a candidate in the gubernatorial race. Plus I’ve already gone on record to say South Dakota will likely remain very red after the election this fall. I still feel that is true. Yet I do think there is a chance at least one of the Libertarian candidates can pull out a surprise victory (perhaps a long-shot, but yes it is possible). No matter what, I am happy the Libertarian Party was able to step up and make sure no office goes unopposed. The democratic voting process works if voters have actual choices on the ballot.