Press "Enter" to skip to content

Goodwin, Krebs Get Law Wrong—Russell Can’t Return to District 30 Senate Race

For a lawmaker, Rep. Tim Goodwin (R-30/Rapid City) seems distressingly incapable of understanding state law. Alas, so does Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. According to Rep. Goodwin’s latest blog post, Goodwin shares Krebs’s mistaken interpretation that Senator Lance Russell can return to the District 30 Senate ballot:

To make matters more confusing, Sen. Russell was told by the Sec. of State that he had to resign his newly won Republican senate candidate position to be the Republican Attorney General candidate in the General Election on Nov. 6, 2018, should he win. Clear as mud? Yea…

So, Senator Russell resigned his senate seat on June 22 in order to be eligible to run for Attorney General. The election was the next morning, June 23rd. Sen. Russell lost on the second ballot to Jason Ravnsborg for the Republican Attorney General spot in the General Election. So now what???

Well, the Secretary of State has ruled that the delegates from District 30 that being Fall River county, Custer county and the portion of Pennington county that is in District 30, need to muster and vote in a Republican senate candidate. The Sec. of State has also ruled that if Lance Russell wins that delegate vote, she will put him on the General Election ballot in November. There! I explained it!! [Rep. Tim Goodwin, “Ruling for Vacant Republican Senate Seat in District 30,” blog post, 2018.07.10]

First off, Rep. Goodwin, the matter was never “confusing.” State law says no person may be a candidate for two offices at the same time. To run for the GOP nomination for Attorney General at convention, Russell had to withdraw from his Senate race. That’s simple, and that’s why Russell withdrew on June 22, the day before the GOP held its nomination (and passed over Russell and experienced state’s attorney John Fitzgerald for the least qualified candidate for attorney general—that, Representative Goodwin, should be your real cause for confusion).

Second, Goodwin fails to recognize Krebs’s continued misreading of SDCL 12-6-55:

Any person nominated to any elective office may cause his name to be withdrawn from nomination by request in writing, subscribed and sworn to by him before any officer qualified to administer oaths and take acknowledgments. The request shall be filed with the officer with whom the nominating petition was filed pursuant to § 12-6-4, not later than the first Tuesday in August at 5:00 p.m. before the ensuing election. No name so withdrawn shall be printed upon the ballots to be used at such election [SDCL 12-6-55, last amended 1979].

Lance Russell and Tim Goodwin in Spock Mirror beards
Or you both could grow Spock beards and claim that you are your Mirror Universe doubles. We probably wouldn’t notice the difference.

Lance Russell withdrew his name from nomination for District 30 Senate. Lance Russell’s name cannot be placed on the District 30 Senate ballot. District 30’s Republican county party officials cannot re-nominate Russell for District 30 Senate. District 30’s Republican county party officials must pick someone else to carry the Republican banner in the District 30 Senate race against Democrat Kristine Ina Winter and Libertarian Gideon Oakes.

But let’s not end on a negative note. If Goodwin and friends are intent on restoring Russell to the ballot and keeping him in the Legislature, I can offer a simple, positive solution. Rep. Goodwin can withdraw from his District 30 House race. District 30 Republican officials can then put Goodwin in the Senate vacancy and Russell in the House vacancy.

Is that clear enough for you, Tim? You’re welcome.


  1. Rorschach 2018-07-10 09:18

    I disagree Cory. That statute can easily be interpreted simply as a directive not to put the name of a withdrawn candidate on the ballot. It need not be read as a prohibition of putting the name of any particular replacement candidate on the ballot. Russell is just as eligible to be that replacement candidate as anyone else.

  2. lrads1 2018-07-10 09:57

    I also disagree. I find this reading of the law precariously close to the literalism for which I fault conservative readers of the Constitution. I see no evidence in that sentence of the code that the legislators considered and expressed an opinion on the possibility that a candidate would resign the race and then the same candidate would be renamed to the same race, much as I wish I could. Is there something in a debater’s blood that makes them disagree with something just for the purposes of discussion?

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-10 11:19

    No, this isn’t argument for the sake of argument. This is an effort to preserve the idea that words in statute have meaning, a concept that seems to be under attack in this summer’s other ballot-access arguments.

    “No name so withdrawn”—that’s Russell’s name. That name was withdrawn. That name can’t appear on the ballot. Nothing in SDCL 12-6-56, the subsequent law on filling vacancies, appears to envision filling a vacancy with the vacator. A plain reading of statute suggests a vision of vacator and replacement as separate individuals: “…a party candidate for public office may be replaced by a new nominee….” See that “new”? That adjective suggests a contrast with the “old” or “original” but now “withdrawn” nominee, not a reinstatement of the same person. 12-6-56 lacks any language providing an exception to the binding, absolute language of 12-6-55.

    You withdraw, you can’t get back in. Choices have consequences. Words have meaning.

  4. Greg Deplorable 2018-07-10 14:50

    Krebs Strikes Back!

    Democrats can’t run any of their constitutional candidates, someone f’d up the certification.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-10 15:48

    See my new post on that topic, Greg. Funny how on Russell, Krebs ignores the letter of the law, but on the statewide Dem candidates, she ignores the case ruled on just last week and acts against precedent to do something the courts say she can’t, just to satisfy her party chair’s request.

    I guess the law is only the law when the Republicans want it to be the law.

  6. Debbo 2018-07-10 22:02

    “I guess the law is only the law when the Republicans want it to be the law.”


  7. John 2018-07-11 08:04

    Nice post, Cory. Once again the republicants want to create, bend, and twist law for their selfish agenda. Goodwin should resign his commission as he’s proven incapable, after a generation or more, of understanding the constitutions and law.

  8. John W 2018-07-11 10:37

    This sort of intentional mis-reading and mis-interpretation of the letter of the law has been the hallmark of Republican control freaks since before Janklow. Rounds was a master at it. And when they get exposed for their obvious academic failures at language interpretation, it’s the same old mantra……. We’re the ones with all the marbles, we know what is right and what historical law and legislatures intended so just shut up. Tim Goodwin has never demonstrated any knowledge or understanding of law or legislating thereof. He just goes on tilt in political arrogance. He was and is a Jackley follower and supporter and therefore feels disenfranchised.

  9. Curt 2018-07-12 01:10

    The statute is open to interpretation. Goodwin and Krebs interpret as I do. At this point, I believe it’s still hypothetical because I do not know that Sen Russell has stated his intent to request reinstatement as the Dist 30 Sen candidate. If he does, and his party re-nominates him, and Krebs follows through and permits it, someone can bring suit to argue for Cory’s interpretation of the law. In the end, however, what would be gained? Should the voters in Dist 30 not be allowed to choose whomever they want to represent them in the Senate? Should Sen Russell’s ambition for and pursuit of higher office result in punishment not only for him but for the voters in Dist 30?

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-12 12:32

    I don’t see the openness to interpretation in the phrase, “No name so withdrawn shall be printed upon the ballots to be used at such election.” No name—that’s absolute.

    Curt does make a reasonable point about allowing voters to choose whom they want. Perhaps there is a case to be made for a radical overhaul of all of our ballot access laws. Is there a good reason for saying that a candidate who withdraws can’t change his mind? Is there good reason for prohibiting a candidate for running for two offices at once in order to, for instance, hold a sure seat in the Legislature while taking a shot at a higher office? I’m open to legislative intent and history. But the letter of the law is clear: no candidate who withdraws can be placed back on the ballot for that office.

    Also, on the desires of the voters: we have many statutes limiting their choices. They may want an 18-year-old to run, or someone who just moved to District 30 last week, but statute says they can’t, and statute will prevail over voters’ desires in a court challenge.

  11. Curt 2018-07-12 15:18

    I am attempting to read Krebs’ rationale and presume that she is accepting that once the candidate’s name has been withdrawn and removed (which it has) any qualified candidate’s name may be inserted in its place. That would include the person who had earlier withdrawn. It causes me no heartburn.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-12 17:12

    That conclusion doesn’t make. What part of completing the withdrawal process makes the last words of SDCL 12-6-55 go away?

  13. John W 2018-07-13 19:49

    We aught not be reading something into law that is not there nor should we be avoiding the precedent already established. I believe there is already case law, in place, that determines that if a candidate officially withdraws his name, it is permanently withdrawn for at least that election cycle. If this were not so, there would be language in law declaring the exceptions being suggested. There is none…….

    The standard picture of interpretation is focused on language, using various linguistic conventions to discover a document’s meaning or a drafter’s intent. Those who see language as less determinate take a more skeptical view, urging judges to make interpretive choices on policy grounds. Yet both approaches neglect the most important resource available: the already applicable rules of law.

    Legal interpretation is neither a subfield of linguistics nor an exercise in policymaking. Rather, it is deeply shaped by preexisting legal rules. These rules tell us what legal materials to read and how to read them.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-15 17:35

    I really want someone to provide that case law. When has this withdrawal/replacement statute been tested?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.