PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – A man who has been part of the South Dakota legislature since 2011 says he is retiring from politics.
State Senator Stace Nelson made the announcement on Sunday.
The Hanson County Republican served in the House from 2011 to 2014 and in the Senate since 2017.
A challenger had already announced his plans to run for the Senate seat in the upcoming election.
“After being asked to run by people across District 19 I started letting people know about a month ago I would be running for the Senate,” State Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, a Scotland Republican, told KELOLAND News on Monday.
Schoenfish was term-limited in the South Dakota House after he had won four consecutive elections to one of the district’s two seats in the chamber.
Nelson, 52, was one of the loudest voices in the Legislature seeking a deeper probe of the GEAR UP scandal. Schoenfish, 32, a certified public accountant, works for the firm that audited the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, the group that handled GEAR UP grants from SDDOE.
Nelson unsuccessfully sought Republican nominations for lieutenant governor last summer and for the U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
“I’ve always been accessible to the media and tried to always answer any question you folks had, as I owed that to the public. Please excuse me in avoiding you folks now as I attempt to extricate myself from the swamp and take the bullseye off me,” Nelson said on Monday.
Nelson’s resignation takes effect December 10. Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, has authority under state law to appoint a successor.
The district’s other legislator is Rep. Kent Peterson, R-Salem.