PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The departing chair of South Dakota’s Republican Party is endorsing a state lawmaker who hopes to be his successor.
Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes is throwing his support behind state Senator John Wiik of Big Stone City.
Wiik is the Grant County Republican chairman. He has served one term in the state House of Representatives (2015-2016) and won election in November unopposed to a fourth term in the Senate.
The Republican state central committee will choose a new chair, vice chair and other officers January 14.
State Representative Taffy Howard of Rapid City has been vocal recently on her political site regarding a possible run for chair of South Dakota Republicans. Howard challenged U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson in the June primary and lost 59-41%. She was active later that same month at the Republican statewide convention in raising questions about Lederman’s leadership.
“Unfortunately the one person for sure running to replace Lederman as state chair will not make any changes for the better, as he will do whatever the establishment tells him to do, just as he did in the legislature. Let’s hope we have a different choice…” Howard wrote on her Facebook candidate site last week.
Lederman also was a legislator before taking the statewide Republican leadership role. He served one term in the state House (2009-2010) and was serving his third term in the Senate when he resigned as the 2015 legislative session ended that March.
Lederman went on to run for South Dakota Republican chair in 2017, defeating Pam Roberts, who had support from then-Governor Dennis Daugaard. Lederman served two more terms and announced after the November elections he would be stepping down.
Wiik announced Lederman’s support in a news release Monday that also included support from nearly all of South Dakota’s Republican statewide elected officials.
They included Governor Kristi Noem, Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, Congressman Johnson, Secretary of State Monae Johnson, Attorney General-elect Marty Jackley, State Treasurer Josh Haeder, State Auditor Rich Sattgast, state School and Public Lands Commissioner-elect Brock Greenfield, and state Public Utilities Commissioners Chris Nelson and Gary Hanson.
Not on the list were South Dakota’s senior U.S. senator, John Thune, and Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.
Wiik also announced that state Representative Mary Fitzgerald of Spearfish would be running as vice chair, hoping to succeed Linda Rausch of Meade County.
Republicans won every statewide contest in November and kept a 94-11 advantage in the Legislature.
The Republican National Committeeman for South Dakota is Ried Holien of Watertown, a former legislator.
Current or past legislators chair at least 11 of the Republican county organizations. In addition to Wiik, Fitzgerald and Lederman, other county chairs include Senator Joshua Klumb of Mitchell, former legislator and state chair Randy Frederick of Hayti, newly elected Representative Jessica Bahmuller of Alexandria, former legislator Betty Olson of Prairie City, Representative Charlie Hoffman of Eureka, Senator Maggie Sutton of Sioux Falls, former legislator Leslie Heinemann of Flandreau and former legislator Eric Bogue of Sioux Falls.
Two other senators — Jim Stalzer of Sioux Falls and David Wheeler of Huron — serve as regional directors for the South Dakota Republican Party.