PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Legislation that would create partisan primaries for six more statewide offices and let the party’s governor nominee choose her or his running mate has moved ahead a step at the South Dakota Capitol.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 6-3 on Monday to endorse SB-40. It would establish party-primary contests for secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, lands commissioner and public utilities commissioner. Those offices are now chosen by delegates at each party’s statewide convention.

The change would add those six to three nomination contests that voters already decide for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and governor.

Republican Sen. David Johnson filed the proposal. The legislation comes after South Dakota Republican delegates selected Monae Johnson over incumbent Steve Barnett for secretary of state last June and several other nominees faced strong challenges.

The Senate could debate whether to adopt the change as early as Wednesday afternoon. If it passes, the legislation would move to the House for further consideration.

Johnson told the Senate committee Monday that 18,500 of Minnehaha County’s Republicans voted in their June primary, while 102 delegates from the county took part in choosing nominees at the convention.

Johnson said he wrote the original legislation calling for the change five years ago. “We’re talking about grassroots,” he said. ”This is an issue that is very confusing to your average voter.”

No one testified against it. “I think it’s as grassroots as it gets,” said Republican Sen. Mike Rohl, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, another co-sponsor of the bill, noted that Clark County Republicans overwhelmingly supported the nomination of Governor Kristi Noem for a second term in the June primary, yet two of the county’s three delegates at the convention later that month supported her challenger, then-Rep. Steve Haugaard, to be her lieutenant governor candidate.

Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden was her choice and won the nomination. That came after Noem took the rare step of a speech calling for Rhoden to be on the ballot with her for a second term.

“We need to clean this up. We need to let all South Dakotans have a say,” Schoenbeck said.