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Primary Losses Don't Spell Ends of Careers

June 10, 2012, 10:06 PM by Brady Mallory

Primary Losses Don't Spell Ends of Careers

Just like the South Dakota weather, the state's political line-up is ever-changing.  Three familiar names were ousted in Tuesday's primary, but party leaders are not done with them.

"If you run long enough, you're going to end up losing," House Majority Whip Charlie Hoffman said.

That is just what happened to some long-time Republican lawmakers Representative Gene Abdallah and Speaker of the House Val Rausch.

Hoffman believes the two men may have relied too much on partisanship, while their opponents did not.

"You put your name out there enough times-at their tables, or in their ears when they're driving on a radio ad, on a billboard, door-to-door and shake their hands, the general population is going to have a high percentage of people who remember you and vote for that name," Hoffman said.

"If there was a pretty low turn-out across the state, when that happens a few people can make all the difference," House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff said.

According to South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant, ousted Republicans and Democrats cannot run as Independents in General Elections.  But they still have options. 

"I would suspect that they will be asked to be sitting on state commissions, summer studies and that's the kind of knowledge, as long as they're alive, they'll want to use," Hoffman said.

For younger politicians, such as Assistant House Minority Leader Mitch Fargen, losing a primary is not an end.

"They look like a big deal now at the time and you over analyze them.  But one loss just opens up other doors and it's quickly forgotten," Hunhoff said.

But that does not mean political leaders are ignoring the primary winners.  Hoffman says they are already gearing for the general election.

"That is a partisan election.  That is all, rah-rah Republican party, rah-rah Democrat party," Hoffman said.

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