PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Twenty candidates, all Republicans, had no opponents as voters decided who should fill the 35 South Dakota Senate seats in the general election Tuesday.
Republicans held 32 of the Senate’s seats the past two years. The question was how many they could capture this time. Republicans fielded candidates for all 35.
For the 70 seats in the South Dakota House of Representatives, 23 candidates — also all Republicans — had no opponents Tuesday.
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And Republicans were assured of winning 10 more House seats, because only one non-Republican was running in that many two-seat districts where the top two finishers win.
Republicans held 62 of the House seats the past two years. They fielded candidates for all 70.
While many faces remain the same, there will be new people leading the Republican and Democratic caucuses in each chamber, because the current leaders had either won four consecutive two-year terms, and therefore were barred from seeking a fifth term in a row for that seat, or ran for another office.
The one hold-over could be the Senate’s top member, Republican Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown. He was unopposed Tuesday and planned to seek re-election to the post of president pro tem.
The Senate will have a new Republican leader because Gary Cammack of Union Center was term-limited and ran for a House seat. Senate Democrat leader Troy Heinert of Winner also was term-limited.
The House will have a new presiding officer, in part because the current speaker, Republican Spencer Gosch of Glenham, ran for the Senate and lost. The House traditionally chooses a new speaker each term, elevating the speaker pro tem, who currently is Republican Jon Hansen of Dell Rapids, but there could be competition this time in a chamber that has visibly split into several GOP factions.
The House also will have a new Republican leader because Kent Peterson of Salem was term-limited, while Democrat leader Jamie Smith of Sioux Falls ran for governor.
Representatives-elect who had automatically won before Tuesday’s voting included:
Carl Perry, R-Aberdeen.* Brandei Schaefbauer, R-Aberdeen. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence.* Stephanie Sauder, R-Bryant. Aaron Aylward, R-Harrisburg.*
Ernie Otten, R-Tea.* John Mills, R-Volga.* Tim Reisch, R-Howard. Sue Peterson, R-Sioux Falls.* Tony Venhuizen, R-Sioux Falls.
Jessica Bahmuller, R-Alexandria. Drew Peterson, R-Salem. Ben Krohmer, R-Mitchell. Lance Koth, R-Mitchell.* Rocky Blare, R-Ideal.*
Marty Overweg, R-Corsica.* Scott Moore, R-Ipswich. James Wangsness, R-Miller. Will Mortenson, R-Pierre.* Mike Weisgram, R-Fort Pierre.*
Rebecca Reimer, R-Oacoma.* Mary Fitzgerald, R-St. Onge.* Scott Odenbach, R-Spearfish.*
Republican senators-elect who had won before Tuesday included:
Steve Kolbeck, R-Brandon. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen.* John Wiik, R-Big Stone City.* Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown.* Herman Otten, R-Lennox.*
Tim Reed, R-Brookings.** Casey Crabtree, R-Madison.* Brent Hoffman, R-Sioux Falls. Sydney Davis, R-Burbank.** Joshua Klumb, R-Mitchell.*
David Wheeler, R-Huron.* Bryan Breitling, R-Miller.* Jim Mehlhaff, R-Pierre. Tom Pischke, R-Dell Rapids.** Ryan Maher, R-Isabel.*
Dean Wink, R-Howes.** Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City.* Randy Deibert, R-Spearfish.** Michael Diedrich, R-Rapid City. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City.
*-Incumbent. **–Representative elected to Senate.