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SD Republicans Keep Super Majority In Pierre

November 7, 2012, 5:12 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SD Republicans Keep Super Majority In Pierre

While Democrats had a good night nationally on Election Day, in South Dakota it was all about the Republicans.

Kristi Noem was re-elected to Congress and both Republican candidates for the Public Utilities Commission had big victories.

Republicans also maintained a super majority in the state legislature holding 81 seats in a 105 member body. Democrats still only have 24 members.

"Nationally Republicans didn't have a stellar night and in South Dakota we really bucked that trend so we were very happy, very pleased about that," South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Tim Rave said.

Despite a large effort by Democrats to unseat Republicans by sending out numerous attack fliers in the weeks leading up to Election Day, Democrats only gained two seats in the Senate but lost two seats in the House.

"The thing I think was important is I don't think negative campaigning worked. I'm glad for that going forward because that would have been the new norm," Rave said.

State Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf believes the efforts made a difference.

"I think in some races it did and there were other races that were much closer than I think they otherwise would have been," Nesselhuf said.

And while Democrats didn't make any gains in the legislature, Nesselhuf thinks it's interesting that South Dakotans rejected two policies brought forth by Republicans in the legislature.

Voters rejected both Referred Law 14, which would have created a large project development fund, and Referred Law 16, which was an education reform law that created bonuses for top teachers.

"Where we failed was in explaining that Democrats stand for those issues and therefore if you are with us on the issues you should support Democrats in the legislature," Nesselhuf said.

Rave believes Referred Law 16, the teacher bonus bill, may have included too many elements. He thinks lawmakers will work to pass individual portions of that bill this session instead of placing it in a large package.

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