PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Republican lawmakers met Friday to choose their party leaders in the state Senate heading into next year’s legislative session.
Casey Crabtree of Madison is the new majority leader. He succeeds Gary Cammack of Union Center, who was term-limited in the Senate and won election Tuesday to the state House.
Mike Diedrich of Rapid City returns as assistant majority leader for a second term. Majority whips include Helene Duhamel of Rapid City, Jack Kolbeck of Sioux Falls, Ryan Maher of Isabel and David Wheeler of Huron.
Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown is the Senate Republicans’ nominee for president pro tempore, which will be voted on by the full Senate in January. The president pro tempore is the Senate’s top member and appoints its employees. Schoenbeck served in that role for the 2021-22 term.
Republicans hold a 31-4 majority heading into the 2023 session.
Senate Democrats meanwhile chose Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls as their minority leader. He succeeds Troy Heinert of Mission, who was term-limited and didn’t seek to return to the House.
Senator-elect Shawn Bordeaux of Mission will be assistant minority leader and Senator-elect Liz Larson of Sioux Falls will be minority whip. Bordeaux defeated Republican Joel Koskan of Wood for the seat that Heinert had held, while Larson defeated Republican incumbent Maggie Sutton of Sioux Falls.
House Republicans are scheduled to meet Friday to choose their leaders and nominate members for the top role of speaker and speaker pro tem. They will hold a 63-7 advantage for the 2023 session that opens January 10.
The current House speaker, Spencer Gosch of Mobridge, unsuccessfully ran in the Senate Republican primary and won’t return. The current Republican leader, Kent Peterson of Salem, was term-limited and didn’t run.
House Democrats are set to meet Sunday. Their current leader, Jamie Smith of Sioux Falls, ran for governor rather than re-election and lost to Republican Governor Kristi Noem.