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Codington County, District 5 Resoundingly Reject Schoenbeck’s Amendment C Yet Reëlect Schoenbeck to Senate

Senator Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) couldn’t sell Amendment C in his own District 5 and Codington County. With all 15 precincts in Codington County swiftly counted and reported last night, the vote in Schoenbeck’s home county was 32.9% for his Amendment C and 67.1% against.

Even within Schoenbeck’s District 5, which includes the five “urban” Watertown precincts and two adjoining rural precincts in Codington County, Amendment C failed 32.7% to 67.3%. Republican District 5 voters still picked Schoenbeck over his primary challenger, Watertown city councilman Colin Paulsen, 58.7% to 41.3%. But Schoenbeck won 1,808 votes in District 5, while Amendment C won only 1,454 votes in District 5. Thus, at least 354 Watertown Republicans who voted to send Schoenbeck back to Pierre—almost 20%—voted against Schoenbeck’s signature legislation of his current term, his effort to weaken their voting rights with minority rule on fiscal ballot measures.

While 3,078 District 5 voters cast ballots in the Schoenbeck/Paulsen primary, 4,443 District 5 voters cast ballots on Amendment C. Thus, Schoenbeck’s ballot measure interested 1,365 more voters than his primary race. And that number who voted against C in District 5—2,989—was almost equal to the total who voted in the District 5 Senate primary.

Schoenbeck faces no general election challenger, so he doesn’t have to face a local electorate that widely rejects his view on ballot measures and majority rule. But if Schoenbeck did have to face all of the voters in November (and you know, an ambitious campaign could petition to form a new party, submit 3,392 signatures to the Secretary of State by July 1, and nominate a Green or Socialist or Populist candidate for District 5 Senate), he would have to explain why he’s so out of step with popular opinion on South Dakota’s long and august tradition of initiative and referendum.


  1. 96Tears 2022-06-08

    Lee helped to stack the deck by putting a dangerous constitutional change on a primary election ballot that was almost exclusively for Republican voters. Fortunately, even chronic voting Republicans knew a stupid and anti-democratic idea when they saw one. He and Noem should be the most ashamed for running such a foolish proposal up the flag pole. Alas, Mr. sChoenbeck, your feet are still made of clay.

  2. 96Tears 2022-06-08

    BTW, how did the rest of The Purge go? I hope that part of Team Noem/sChoenbeck’s master plan for buttoning up Pierre worked out. I wonder what kind of message the Senate Republicans got from Tuesday and how excited they are to fall in line with Team Noem/sChoenbeck’s master plan to dump Ravnsborg in front of the SDGOP State Convention. Maybe Trump wants to jump in, or three men sharing one brain: Thune/Rounds/Dusty.

    More fun to come!

  3. Donald Pay 2022-06-08

    I would not have worried about Amendment C passing, except for its placement on the primary ballot. South Dakotans are generally protective of the initiative and referendum. But this was a stunning, stunning middle finger to the tyranny of the Legislative Bullies. Whenever threats to the initiative and referendum are placed on the ballot, they lose big. Glad to see that South Dakotans, unlike Noem, Schoenbeck and others, actually understand civics and South Dakota history.

  4. sx123 2022-06-08

    Schoenbeck appears to be the swamp his postcards wanted to drain. Probably got Amendment C on the ballot so that anyone campaigning against C looked like they were pro-tax increases and he was ant-tax increases.

  5. Bob Newland 2022-06-08

    A FB friend just posted, “Just now Schoenbeck cast aspersions on the electorate being tricked by “powerful misleading ads.”

    He’s already giving mouth-to-mouth to this dead cat.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-06-08

    Maybe Mrs. Noem will dump Mr. Rhoden and install Viceroy Schoenbeck as her right hand man .

  7. P. Aitch 2022-06-08

    District 5 is still in shock over this. Even Anti-Democracy Lee Schoenbeck is a slight improvement over what happened when no one stepped up to oppose this fellow.
    – Neal Tapio, who was first elected in 2016 while running unopposed while simultaneously running the Donald Trump campaign’s operations in South Dakota. (Neal did win this national award, though.) :)

  8. Mark Anderson 2022-06-08

    Gosh, he must be a really swell guy. Not too smart, but really nice.

  9. grudznick 2022-06-08

    Gosch? No, not really a swell guy. Although you’re right about him being not too smart, Mr. Anderson.

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