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Legislator Remembers Father's Battle With Janklow

January 12, 2012, 6:16 PM by Austin Hoffman

Legislator Remembers Father's Battle With Janklow
In 1978, LeRoy Hoffman, who is the grandfather of KELOLAND's Austin Hoffman, ran for the Republican gubernatorial seat against Bill Janklow. While LeRoy has since passed, his son, current state representative Charlie Hoffman, has memories of his father going head to head with Janklow.

“His friends actually convinced him that he should run for governor,” Charlie Hoffman said.

LeRoy Hoffman sat two terms as a senator in the South Dakota Legislature before running for governor. His son, Charlie, was only 18 at the time.

"It was one of those things where really, I didn't realize it at the time, but when you go up against Bill Janklow and you want to go up against memory and talk about issues, you really need two or three people to sit next to you to give you information and numbers so that you can compete with him. And that’s what I remember," Charlie said.

Charlie also remembers agriculture and Missouri River water being the key topics at the time. In fact, his first taste of politics was head to head with Janklow.

"I remember in Beresford once, the first time my dad couldn't get to a legislative summit to speak and everyone was there.  I have to speak between Bill Janklow and Clay Roberts was speaking for Clint, and that's the most nervous I’ve ever been. Here's Governor Janklow spewing facts, figures and everything else that he can think of and I get up and I really was at a loss of words," Charlie said.

Years later, Janklow even remembered that experience and wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings.

"He had Lee Schoenbeck call me and said, Lee asked me, he said, 'Charlie, do you hate the governor?' And I told Lee, 'Why would I ever not love the governor.  I emulate him; I want to be more like him.' So he still was concerned 11 years after he beat my father in the gubernatorial race what my feelings were towards him," Charlie said.

Charlie believes Janklow's legacy will be one of a fighter; someone who truly cared about the people of South Dakota.

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