I just heard Seth Tupper say that Billie Sutton’s second-place finish last night was “near miraculous.” If that’s a miracle, then your God has no mercy for Democrats.
However, Sutton’s loss did produce at least one remarkable number: 90,867 more Democratic votes than in the last gubernatorial election:
61,751 more voters participated in this gubernatorial election than the last. Sutton got more people to mark “D” for Governor this year than any other Democratic candidate yet this century.
Yet those additional 90,867 Democratic voters did little to boost the fortunes of any other Democratic ticket. The Sutton surge, if it included any voters who were willing to mark any other Ds downballot, may have helped Erin Healy, Kelly Sullivan, Michael Saba, Ryan Cwach, and Peri Pourier win seats in their Sutton-swinging counties, but Sutton’s 50% toppages in Brown, Marshall, Day, and Roberts County did not save the District 1 seat that Republican Tamara St. John stole from Democrats or bring any Dems up in Districts 2 and 3. Sutton’s solid 51’s in three of District 8’s four counties did not help Scott Parsley take back his seat from Jordan Youngberg or pull up either Democratic House candidate. And whatever state employees quietly picked Sutton over their next boss didn’t dare squirt out and give any substantial vote boost to their District 24 Democratic candidates for Senate and House… even though their Senate candidate, Amanda Bachmann, was one of Sutton’s biggest boosters.
Billie Sutton brought out a lot of voters who sat on their hands in 2010 and 2014. But those voters weren’t enough to save South Dakota from descent into deeper kakistocracy.