The carnage of Republicans slaughtering Democrats went all the way down the ballot to this year’s county races. 31 of our 66 counties had races for county offices, mostly county commission, with a smattering of contests for auditor, treasurer, state’s attorney, and coroner. One of those counties is Minnehaha, which still has not reported its results.
In the 30 counties that have reported complete results, 49 official positions were up for grabs. Republicans won 34 of those positions; Democrats won nine; independents won 6.
Democrats took first place over Republicans in just four contests:
- Democratic candidate and incumbent Bennett County auditor Angela Hicks beat Republican Ami Jo Allen 72%–28%.
- Democratic candidate for Lincoln County Commission James C. Jibben beat Republican Marlene Sweeter 52%–48%.
- Democratic candidate and incumbent Sanborn County Commissioner Paul Larson beat Republican Craig A. Brueske, but only two votes, so watch for a recount!
- Democratic candidate and incumbent Ziebach County Commissioner Bill Henderson beat both and independent and a Republican. (The independent, David Pesicka, is also an incumbent and gets to keep his seat, since there were two seats up for election.)
Every other Democrat who won an elected county position yesterday either faced no Republican opponents and only had to vanquish independents or, in Clay County, lost to one Republican but beat another in a pick-three race.
Clark and Jones counties each saw indy-on-indy action, with none of their county candidates declaring a party affiliation. In other races where indies faced a partisan opponent, four out of seventeen indies prevailed. Nine out of 32 Democrats running for county office won. 34 out of 42 Republican county candidates won elected office.
The conclusion, of course, is that if you plan to win an election in South Dakota, large or local, you’d better have an R in front of your name or plan to work really, really hard.