The Primary election was held yesterday in South Dakota and based on voter turnout, the overwhelming majority of SD voters did not care in the least. With 99.7% of the precincts reported as of this morning, a whopping 32% of registered voters went to the polls to cast a vote yesterday, just 186,894 of the 582,359 eligible voters cast a ballot in this years Primary.
The biggest issue on the ballot this year was Amendment C. Which would have raised the threshold from 50.01% to 60% for passing voter initiatives that would create new taxes or spend more than 10 million dollars in tax payer dollars in a certain period of time. Opponents of Amendment C pushed back hard against the amendment, and they were successful enough that apparently Republicans didn’t even want to show up to vote for the Amendment. To put it into perspective Amendment C failed 67% to 33%, attaining just above 59,000 votes in favor of C. The number of registered Republicans alone in this State is over 286,000, almost 100,000 more than the total number of voters in the Primary. The takeaway from that is that even Republicans didn’t care enough to show up to vote in their own Primary ( Democrats only had a couple of contested races at the State level), and apparently they have no interest in making it harder to raise taxes in South Dakota.
Moving on to some of the big elections of the night:
Kristi Noem easily defeats challenger Steven Haugaard who spent about $50,000 of his own money on his campaign, 76% to 24%. The incumbent Governor now moves on to the general election where she faces off against Libertarian Tracey Quint and Democrat Jamie Smith.
John Thune had two challengers for his Senate seat, but beat both easily with the totals of 72% for Thune, 20% for Bruce Whalen and 7% for Mark Mowry. The incumbent John Thune now moves on to the general election where he faces off against Libertarian Tamara J Lesnar, and Democrat Brian Bengs.
Dusty Johnson managed to hold on to his position as the GOP candidate for US House in a closer than expected race against challenger Taffy Howard, with vote totals being 59% to 41%. Dusty moves on to the general election to face Libertarian challenger Collin Duprel. This will be another two way race this year after Democratic candidate Ryan Ryder withdrew over after old tweets resurfaced. Read more about that here.
Whatever happens in this Fall’s elections we certainly hope that the voters of South Dakota exercise their right to vote, midterm elections typically have smaller voter turnout but yesterdays Primary shows a significant lack of voter participation that we hope does not continue. One bright spot on this Novembers ballot will be Recreational Marijuana, the people will once again be given the opportunity to vote on this issue and we certainly hope it passes and brings in those apathetic voters for a great turnout.