PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Here’s a look at how Republicans significantly strengthened their hold on statewide elected offices and legislative seats in South Dakota during the past 20 years, while Democrats gradually lost power.

Voter registration numbers changed substantially during this same period. Republicans widened their lead by adding 54,055 while Democrats lost 31,359.

The third development saw registration of independent voters climb 77,674. As of April 1, Democrats led independents by less than 12,000.

2002

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 228,200. Democrats 183,343. Libertarians 1,148. Other 63,171.

Democrat U.S. Senator Tim Johnson holds off a determined challenge from Republican U.S. Representative John Thune and hangs onto the seat 167,481 to 166,957. Rather than seek a recount, Thune positions to run against Democrat U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in 2004.

Republican Bill Janklow, term-limited as governor, wins the GOP’s U.S. House nomination with 55% of the vote against four others, including Republican former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler. The Democrats meanwhile nominate Stephanie Herseth, who received 58% support from a field of four. Janklow goes on to defeat Herseth 53-46% to win South Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House.

The governor’s race was newsworthy, too. Republican former legislator Mike Rounds wins his party’s gubernatorial nomination with 44% of the vote against state Attorney General Mark Barnett and former Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby, while former legislator Jim Abbott takes the Democrat nomination with 69%. Rounds defeats Abbott 57-42%.

Republican Gary Hanson wins a seat on the Public Utilities Commission, defeating Democrat incumbent Pam Nelson 57-43%. In a second PUC election, to fill the remaining four years of the late Laska Schoenfelder’s term, Republican Bob Sahr defeats Democrat Curt Johnson, a former state school and public lands commissioner, 52-48%.

Republicans see a net gain of one seat in the Legislature, rising to 26-9 in the Senate and falling to 49-21 in the House.

2004

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 238,580. Democrats 191,523. Libertarians 1,091. Other 70,966.

Two years after narrowly losing, Republican John Thune scores a nationally significant win over Democrat U.S. Senate leader Tom Daschle 197,848 to 193,340.

Republican U.S. Representative Bill Janklow resigns from the U.S. House after his conviction for a 2003 car crash that killed motorcyclist Randy Scott, creating a vacancy that must be filled. Republicans in a special statewide meeting nominate legislator Larry Diedrich while Democrats turn to their 2002 nominee, Stephanie Herseth. She wins the June special election over Diedrich, 132,420 to 129,415, in a contest with 56.7% voter turnout. That fall, as the new U.S. representative, Herseth again defeats Diedrich, this time more decisively, 53-46%.

Republican challenger Dusty Johnson defeats Democrat Jim Burg, a three-term incumbent, for a Public Utilities Commission seat 55-42%.

Republicans see a net gain of one legislative seat, with advantages of 25-10 in the Senate and 51-19 House.

2006

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 240,101. Democrats 190,905. Libertarians 1,168. Other 74,608.

Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth defeats Republican Bruce Whalen 69-29% for the U.S. House seat.

Republican Governor Mike Rounds gets 62% of the vote against three opponents, including Democrat Jack Billion, to win re-election.

Democrat Steve Kolbeck wins an open seat on the Public Utilities Commission 49-47% over Republican John Koskan.

Democrats see a net gain of six legislative seats, as Republicans maintain 20-15 control of the Senate and 50-20 House.

2008

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 241,528. Democrats 204,413. Libertarians 1,059. NPA/Independents 83,147.

The Democrat presidential nomination battle extends to South Dakota at the June end of the national primary contests, with Hillary Clinton topping Barack Obama here 55-45%, but Obama goes on to win the nomination. Then in the general election, Republican John McCain wins South Dakota 53-45% over Obama, but Obama again comes out on top nationally.

Democrat U.S. Senator Tim Johnson wins a third term, defeating Republican Joel Dykstra 62-38%, despite Johnson suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin wins re-election over Republican Chris Lien 68-32%, capturing all 66 counties. The Johnson and Herseth-Sandlin victories mark the most recent time that a Democrat has won a statewide election in South Dakota.

Republican incumbent Gary Hanson wins re-election to the Public Utilities Commission 65-32% over Democrat Matt McLarty.

Republicans suffer a net loss of three legislative seats, gaining one in the Senate 21-14 and falling to 46-24 in the House.

2010

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 237,809. Democrats 194,204. Libertarians 1,080. NPA/Independents 85,932.

Six years after defeating Democrat Tom Daschle, Republican U.S. Senator John Thune goes unchallenged for re-election.

Republican legislator Kristi Noem defeats Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin for U.S. House 48-46%, as some Democrats pull back after Herseth-Sandlin proclaims herself a Blue-Dog Democrat and doesn’t fully support the new Obama administration. Noem had won the Republican nomination with 42% support in the June primary against then-Secretary of State Chris Nelson and legislator Blake Curd.

Republican Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard wins election for governor, defeating a former legislator, Republican-turned-Democrat Scott Heidepriem, 62-38%. Daugaard had won the Republican nomination with 50% of the vote against four less-known challengers in the June primary.

Republican Dusty Johnson wins re-election to the Public Utilities Commission but resigns days later to accept Daugaard’s offer to be chief of staff.

Republicans posted big gains in the Legislature, netting 13 new seats, to control the Senate 30-5 and 50-19 in the House.

2011

In January, new Governor Dennis Daugaard appoints former Secretary of State Chris Nelson to fill the Public Utilities Commission vacancy created by Dusty Johnson’s resignation.

In June, Democrat Steve Kolbeck resigns from Public Utilities Commission, rather than seek re-election in 2012, and accepts a supervisory position with CenturyLink Communications, a company that the commission regulates.

Daugaard appoints Republican Kristie Fiegen, a former legislator, to the PUC vacancy. Kolbeck’s departure leaves every statewide elected office in South Dakota’s Capitol held by a Republican.

2012

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 243,113. Democrats 189,493. Libertarians 1,126. NPA/Independents 93,942.

Republican Mitt Romney defeats Democrat U.S. President Barack Obama in South Dakota 58-40%, but Obama wins a second term nationally.

Republican U.S. Representative Kristi Noem wins a second term in U.S. House, defeating Democrat Matt Varilek 57-43%.

In two statewide races for seats on the Public Utilities Commission, Republicans Kristie Fiegen and Chris Nelson win, Fiegen beats Democrat Matt McGovern 54-40%. Nelson defeats Democrat Nick Nemec, a former legislator, 67-33%.

Republicans post a net gain of one legislative seat, slipping to 28-7 in Senate but rising to 53-17 in House.

2014

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 240,544. Democrats 176,165. Libertarians 1,377. NPA/Independents 102,337.

Democrat U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, still diminished after a brain bleed seven years earlier, doesn’t seek re-election. Former Governor Mike Rounds wins Republican nomination for the seat, topping four lesser-known candidates with 55%. In November general 50% of voters support Rounds over three challengers, including Democrat Rick Weiland and former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, an independent who had run in past elections as a Republican.

Republican U.S. Representative Kristi Noem wins a third term, defeating Democrat Corrina Robinson 67-33%.

Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard wins a second term, topping Democrat Susan Wismer, a legislator, 70-25%. Daugaard had won the Republican nomination for a second term in the June primary, defeating former lawmaker Lora Hubbel 81-19%. Wismer had won the Democrat nomination 55-45% over Joe Lowe.

Republicans sweep six other statewide offices, as Democrats don’t field candidates in three; Republican Gary Hanson wins re-election to Public Utilities Commission with 66% of vote against Democrat David Allen and Constitution Party candidate Wayne Schmidt.

Republican candidates win four more legislative seats, putting them at 28-7 advantage in Senate and 58-12 in House.

2016

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 252,116. Democrats 170,694. Libertarians 1,620. NPA/Independents 118,669.

Republican Donald Trump with U.S. presidential election in South Dakota, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton 62-32%. Trump also wins nationally.

Republican U.S. Senator John Thune defeats Democrat Jay Williams 72-28%.

Republican U.S. Representative Kristi Noem wins fourth term 64-36% over Democrat Paula Hawks, a former legislator.

Republican Chris Nelson wins a new term on state Public Utilities Commission, defeating Democrat Henry Red Cloud 75-25%.

Democrats lose more seats in legislative contests, as Republicans win 29 spots in Senate and take 60 in House.

2017

Dan Lederman, a former legislator from Union County, wins chairmanship of South Dakota Republican Party central committee, defeating the incumbent, Pam Roberts of Pierre. She was backed by Governor Dennis Daugaard.

2018

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 256,502. Democrats 158,972. Libertarians 1,835. NPA/Independents 126,666.

Republican Dusty Johnson wins South Dakota’s open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives with 60% of vote, finishing ahead of Democrat Tim Bjorkman at 36%. Johnson had won Republican nomination in June primary with 47% of vote, ahead of Shantel Krebs at 29% and Neal Tapio 24%.

Republican U.S. Representative Kristi Noem defeats Democrat state Senator Billie Sutton for governor 51-48%, after winning Republican nomination in June primary against state Attorney General Marty Jackley 56-44%.

Republican Jason Ravnsborg defeats Democrat Randy Seiler for state attorney general 55-45%. Five other Republicans win statewide elections for state offices with 62% or more of the vote, including state Public Utilities Commission member Kristie Fiegen over Democrat Wayne Frederick 65-35%.

Republicans win 30 Senate seats and 59 House seats, while Democrats take five and 11.

2019

Dan Lederman wins second term as South Dakota Republican Party central committee chairman. No one challenges him.

2020

General election voter registration numbers: Republicans 277,788. Democrats 158,829. Libertarians 2,324. NPA/Independents 138,337.

Republican US President Donald Trump defeats Democrat challenger Joe Biden in South Dakota 62-36% but Biden wins the presidency nationwide.

Republican U.S. Senator Mike Rounds defeats Democrat Dan Ahlers, a former legislator, 64-36%. Rounds had won the Republican nomination in the June primary 75-25% over lawmaker Scyller Borglum.

Republican U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson defeats Libertarian Randy “Uriah” Luallin 81-19%, as Democrats don’t field a challenger; two Democrat candidates tried but failed to qualify for the ballot. Johnson had won the Republican nomination in the June primary over lawmaker Liz May 77-23%.

Republican incumbent Gary Hanson wins another term on state Public Utilities Commission with 68%, topping Democrat Remi Bald Eagle with 27% and Libertarian Devin Saxon 5%.

Republicans win 62 state House seats and 32 state Senate seats, while Democrats take eight and three; those are the Democrats’ lowest totals since the 1953 term, when Republicans held all 35 Senate seats and all but two of the then-75 House seats.

2021

Dan Lederman wins third term as South Dakota Republican Party central committee chairman.

2022

April 1, 2022, voter registration numbers: Republicans 282,255. Democrats 151,984. Libertarians 2,641. NPA/Independents 140,845.

Unable to find a credible Democrat to run against Republican U.S. Senator John Thune, Democrats turn to a former independent, Brian Bangs, as a challenger.

Democrats, for the second consecutive time, fail to run a challenger against Republican U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson for U.S. House. Johnson faces Republican lawmaker Taffy Howard in the June primary.

Republican candidates file for all 105 legislative contests, while Democrats don’t field candidates in more than half.