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Willadsen Votes Himself out of District 11, into District 9

Representative Mark Willadsen (R-11/Sioux Falls) will need to change the name of his Legislative campaign committee, “Mark Willadsen for SD House of Representatives Dist. 11.” Not only is he in his fourth consecutive term in the House and thus ineligible to run for House in 2022, but the Senate Sparrow map approved earlier this month boots him out of District 11 and into District 9:

Old Legislative Districts, showing Rep. Mark Willadsen's residence in old District 11.
Old Legislative Districts, showing Rep. Mark Willadsen’s residence in old District 11.
Sparrow Map, new Legislative Districts for 2022–2030 elections, showing current Republican incumbents in Districts 9 and 11.
Sparrow Map, new Legislative Districts for 2022–2030 elections, showing current Republican incumbents in new Districts 9 and 11.

The Sparrow map shrinks District 11 southward and eastward, giving up all of its old turf north of 12th Street and everything west of the stairstep formed by Sertoma from 12th to 26th, Grinnell from 26th to 41st (note that Grinnell doesn’t reach 26th; the western 11 line jogs along Alexandria and Discovery), and the Ellis Road from 41st to 57th. District gains only that little southeastern wedge bounded by I-29, 41st, Marion Road, and what would be 32nd Street if 32nd ran straight east across Lake Lorraine.

District 9 gains all of the turf District 11 loses while itself losing its own odd Sioux Falls gerrymanders east of I-29 and south of 12th Street and much its northern and western Minnehaha rural turf. But District 9 keeps Wall Lake, where Senator Wayne Steinhauer and Representative Rhonda Milstead listed their residences on their 2020 campaign papers. District 9 also keeps that funny little gerrymander square north of Benson Road and west of I-29, reaching just far enough north to keep Representative Bethany Soye in District 9 instead of throwing her to the already Republican incumbent-rich new District 25.

Willadsen’s term limits created a tight spot for him no matter what. Had he stayed in District 11, he’d have been the only term-limited incumbent. To keep his Legislative seat, Willadsen might have had to coax Senator Jim Stalzer into swapping chambers with him. But District 9 offers no openings, since none of the three District 9 incumbents are term-limited in 2022.

Willadsen voted for the Sparrow map, so he saw his district change coming and didn’t mind. Perhaps he completely disregarded his own district placement and voted for more rational, less gerrymandered (except for that cute little Soye exception) lines for Districts 9 and 11. Perhaps he had no self-interest to regard as he has already figured that four terms in the House with a bunch of right-wing nuts was plenty. Perhaps Wayne is moving to town, leaving a Senate seat open for Mark’s taking.

Or perhaps (please, Santa, put this in our stockings!) Willadsen is ready for a food fight in a new district.

Meanwhile, on the townier side of the new 9/11 line, Republican Brian Klaas Mulder has filed a statement of organization for a run for a District 11 seat in the Legislature. His filing and committee name—”Brian Mulder for District 11″ do indicate which chamber he’ll run for.

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