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Five Republican Senators Win More Than 60% of District Votes; Democratic Senators All in 50s

Which Republicans have the strongest mandates to legislate? Here are the five Republican Senators who won their districts by the highest percentages:

  1. Sen. Kyle Schoenfish (19/Scotland): 81.5%
  2. Sen David Johnson (33/Rapid City): 75.7%
  3. Sen. Jack Kolbeck (13/Sioux Falls): 70.2%
  4. Sen. Jim Bolin (16/Canton): 66.2%
  5. Sen. Jean Hunhoff (18/Yankton): 65.0%

This count does not include the 20 unchallenged Republican Senators and Senators-Elect who got 100% of the vote, since it’s unfair to compare candidates who actually faced voter scrutiny and accountability with those who coast to Pierre without a competitor. One could argue, however, that a candidate who doesn’t even draw a challenger may have a greater mandate to legislate than one who does.

I can’t do a top five for Democratic Senators, since only four Democrats won Senate seats. But here are their winning percentages:

  1. Senator-Elect Shawn Bordeaux (26/Mission): 58.3%
  2. Senator-Elect Liz Larson (10/Sioux Falls): 56.7%
  3. Sen. Reynold Nesiba (15/Sioux Falls): 52.8%
  4. Sen. Red Dawn Foster: 51.4%

Even the strongest Democratic Senate candidate, Rep. Bordeaux, an incumbent legislator, tribal member in heavily Indian District 26, facing a Republican opponent who raped his adopted Indian child, still couldn’t get 60% of his constituents to vote for him.


  1. Mark Anderson 2022-11-11 08:01

    You know Cory, when we first moved to Florida in the late 80’s, a Republican won an extremely close race for the house. He was asked about the lack of a mandate and said it made no difference to him since he didn’t represent Democrats . I was rather naively shocked since compromise is what we believed in. It’s nice to see the idea is retained in South Dakota that the voters actually mean something.
    Do you think that Lauren Boebert will stop being the extreme thing that she is because she is barely winning? Not a chance. Any compromise is now seen as being a loser. No one wants to lift everyone, just their own followers, Republicans especially like to keep their foot on others backs. Ron Johnson won by a racial dog whistle while claiming it was all about crime. He was true to the country club Republicans.

  2. Donald Pay 2022-11-11 09:32

    What does it mean to have a “mandate?” I don’t think winning an election gives anyone a reason to do anything other than to take the oath of office. After that, It confers on the office holder the responsibilities of the office. A legislator’s job is to work in a body of other legislators to craft laws. Is there really a mandate other than that? If there is a mandate, it must be to address issues of importance and of need to constituents and to the state as a whole. Sometimes legislators think being elected makes them God.

    When I was on the school board, I didn’t feel I had any personal mandate whatsoever. I did have opinions, but what I found was you have to put aside your opinions and take in all the information you can get, weigh the importance of that information, listen to everyone, and make the best decision you can make. Sometimes your opinions when you start out are wrong, sometimes they are based on incomplete understanding and sometimes your opinions are right, but you have to be open to changing them. That’s the mandate legislators have, in my opinion.

  3. Richard Schriever 2022-11-11 10:18

    Mr. Pay is correct. The mandate is to do the job as prescribed by law. Of course, many if not most voters do not understand this and believe the job is to do them favors. Party officials are generally in conformance with the ignorant voter. They are all about favoritism. This is the only issue on which I accede to the otherwise despicable “both-sides”ism.

  4. P. Aitch 2022-11-11 13:41

    Lauren Boebert won’t change. No reason she should. Diversity is important in CO and statewide residents embrace diversity. But Boebert represents a part of the state that tourists don’t visit. The nice parts of Colorado are as blue as my Swedish azure peepers.

  5. Kurt Evans 2022-11-11 14:58

    Cory writes:

    Even the strongest Democratic Senate candidate, Rep. Bordeaux … facing a Republican opponent who raped his adopted Indian child …

    Did the rape you’re alleging occur when the victim was below the statutory age of consent, Cory, or are you accusing Bordeaux’s opponent of forcible rape?

  6. Jake 2022-11-11 16:07

    Pay and Schriever are both “spot on!” Richard particularly when he states the ‘favoritism’ some constituents receive over the others of society seem to be why they vote in a particular fashion for a specific political party. Hence the differences I notice that the GOP seem so tuned into ‘wealth’, powerful government (police, military) and business interests where as Democrats more to what is good for society as a whole (health care, regulating/holding back the greed factor of many businesses, etc (current corporate inflation driven profits for instance).

    Winning an election to too many millions of people today seems to be like winning a Super Bowl game, World Series, or a pennant.

    And by the way, Evans, your input remains boring to say the least.

  7. Denise Williams 2022-11-11 21:02

    So Corey The last how many Republican Elects have proven that all their BS promises were just election promises? And how many promises by those Elects were actually fulfilled? They’re already back pedaling on Medicaid, Food Tax Repeal, and we could discuss the ignorance of Republican PARTY LINE VOTERS, BUT APPARENTLY THEY’VE PROVEN THAT ALREADY. At this point in time I foresee EVERYONE’S TAXES GOING UP IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS and More excuses as to why we can’t afford Medicaid, Rec Marijuana was because the will of the people? And we can’t repeal the food tax because we can’t afford it with the State of South Dakota being in Dire Straights? So maybe if we can’t find Democrats in SD to be Noem ballbusters,, then what’s the next option? How about finding some Independents to fill in the gap?

  8. ABC 2022-11-12 01:11

    If yoin by one vote you have a mandate.

    Also if you get 18% of the vote in district 19 and lose to the Schoenfish who used to be a Democrat, you have a mandate also. You did not win an election but man you won some respect.

    Mandates are baloney. If you are married 50 years do you have more of a mandate than someone married only 6 months?

    True democracy would be if you have 20% of the vote you serve 20% of the days in office, and the 80% winner serves 80% of the days in office.

    We have an anorexic legislature. Only 40 days!

    Winner take all, mandates, competition these are all baloney words and have no meaning.

    Every person who votes should get an annual credit or rebate on sakes taxes paid.

    Play by the same rules the Republicans have been oinking about for the last 44 years? No way! Change the rules!

    Watertown and Mitchell have no opposition, 3 seats and only 3 Republicans running? Nonsense! That’s like a baseball tournament where 3 teams are invited and 2 teams are no shows!! Sheer laziness on the Libertarians and Democrats part!

    Change the rules! 44 more years of losing, guys? Really?

    Have the courage to try!

  9. Jake 2022-11-13 10:28

    John-that video is a ‘must see’ thx!!!

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