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Russell Wins District 30 GOP Senate Primary; Has 16 Days to Withdraw to Make AG Bid Possible

Lance Russell in mirror images
What’s it going to be, Lance?

The clock started ticking last night on Senator Lance Russell’s big decision. District 30 Republicans picked the Hot Springs incumbent to carry their banner in the November Senate election against now-seasoned Democratic candidate Kristine Ina Winter. Russell won big over two former legislators, winning 61% over Bruce Rampelberg’s 26% and Patricia Shiery’s 13%.

But Russell is also angling for the Republican nomination for Attorney General, which will be decided at the Republican convention in Pierre June 20–23 (election of constitutional officers is the final day, Saturday, June 23). As I explained last month, state law forbids Russell from standing as a candidate for two offices at the same time. Russell is right now officially a candidate for District 30 Senate. He is not officially a candidate for Attorney General until his nomination is made by a delegate at convention. To allow such a nomination to take place, Russell must formally withdraw his Senate candidacy. But once withdrawn, a candidate’s name cannot be put back on the ballot for that race (see SDCL 12-6-55).

Senator Russell thus faces this choice:

  1. Stay in a Senate race in which his party has given him a strong vote of confidence, in which he faces a Democrat who placed last in the four-way District 30 House race in 2016, and in a district which is 59% Republican, 23% independent, and 17% Democratic; or,
  2. Toss that opportunity aside for a statewide race in which he must beat two other Republicans at convention, one of whom is from the other pole of the Black Hills and thus cuts into his West River advantage, the other of whom is a semi-employed East River patsy who has spent the last four years and gobs of money that Russell doesn’t have traveling all over the state begging for recognition and work, and then face the fundraising and networking buzzsaw that is Randy Seiler, the strongest Democrat to run for Attorney General in this century.

You don’t get to do both, Lance. You have sixteen days to pick.


  1. Debbo 2018-06-07 00:06

    Which choice do predict Cory? 😊

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-07 07:28

    I don’t know what Lance will choose, but I predict he will not choose until Friday, June 22, after he has had as much time as possible to jawbone, arm-twist, and count noses.

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