Billie Sutton Declares Run for Governor; Max Sandlin, Bernie Hunhoff Endorse

Democratic Senator Billie Sutton (D-21/Burke) threw his hat into the 2018 race for Governor today. Speaking to a crowd of about 130 at the Sutton Ranch on the banks of the Missouri River in Gregory County, Sutton promised to end the “culture of corruption” in Pierre. Sutton said he would end forty years of “the same old ideas and political patronage” and work to provide all South Dakota with “better jobs, higher wages… and a world-class education system.”

Blue sky: Sen. Billie Sutton announces his candidacy to a crowd gathered at the Sutton Ranch on the banks of the Missouri River.
Blue sky: Sen. Billie Sutton announces his candidacy to a crowd gathered at the Sutton Ranch on the banks of the Missouri River.

Introducing Senator Sutton was Max Sandlin, husband of former South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and a former Congressman himself. Sandlin praised Sutton for raising teacher pay, fighting for fairness for rural schools, and obtaining funding for the education of deaf students. He contrasted Sutton’s sympathy for South Dakotans overcoming difficulty with what he called a status quo of “self-important” leaders who abuse their “perceived power.”

Max Sandlin and Bernie Hunhoff applaud Senator Sutton's speech.
Max Sandlin and Bernie Hunhoff applaud Senator Sutton’s speech.

Also introducing Sutton was publisher and former Yankton legislator Bernie Hunhoff. Hunhoff said that while not much good has come out of Pierre in recent years, Sutton has been “in the thick” of the few good things that the Legislature has produced. Hunhoff praised Sutton for his ability to unite his caucus in the Legislature and bring together factions of the opposing party to get things done. Hunhoff said Sutton is “respected by the establishment” but is “the first to speak out for the forgotten.”

After having lunch with the many guests at his ranch, Sutton left for Sioux Falls, where he was to speak this evening at a celebration of John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday at the VFW at 6 p.m.

Sutton is the first Democrat to declare a run for Governor in 2018. Four Republicans—Rep. Kristi Noem, Atty. Gen. Marty Jackley, Terry LaFleur, and Lora Hubbel—have also declared their intention to run for Governor.

Stay tuned for video of the speeches and an interview with Senator Sutton on Dakota Free Press!