Update 19:07 CDT: Somehow over breakfast, I missed Noem-appointee loss #3, JD Wangsness!
Kristi Noem has used her gubernatorial power to appoint seven new Republicans to the Legislature: Dayle Hammock, Rhonda Milstead, JD Wangsness, Jessica Castleberry, Marty Overweg, Helene Duhamel, and Lynn Schneider. (Two of those appointments came from Nome promoting two loyal members, Kyle Schoenfish and John Lake, from House to Senate.) Five of those appointees faced primary challenges yesterday; only two survived.
As mentioned earlier, Rep. Dayle “Sinkhole” Hammock got walloped in District 31, finishing fourth in a five-way race. Rep. Overweg lost in District 19, though not by as much and not for sure: by last night’s count, he’s only 21 votes—0.28 percentage points—behind second-place finisher and newcomer Jessica Bahmuller. And Rep. J.D. Wangsness saw his pro-CAFO patronage appointment come to a quick end at the hands of seatmate Rep. Spencer Gosch and the most interesting man in Eureka, Charlie Hoffman.
Minnehaha County is still counting its ballots (yes, even as I update after 7 p.m. Wednesday), so we don’t know for sure if Rep. Milstead will make the November ballot, but Milstead is ahead in every precinct that has reported as of breakfast-time today. Besides, with her name recognition (she’s a Sioux Falls entrepreneur, and her husband, Mike, is Minnehaha County Sheriff), she could win a District 9 primary with or without Noem’s crutch.
So in three of the four final results so far, Republican voters looked at Kristi’s pick and said they could do better. What does that say about confidence in Noem’s leadership?