South Dakota Democrats put together slate of statewide candidates

South Dakota Democrats nominated candidates for six of the seven state wide slots available to be filled at their state convention.
South Dakota Democratic delegates gathered in Fort Pierre to nominate candidates for seven...
South Dakota Democratic delegates gathered in Fort Pierre to nominate candidates for seven available state wide offices at their convention.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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FORT PIERRE, S.D. - Roughly 125 South Dakota Democratic delegates gathered over the weekend to pull together a slate of candidates to run for statewide offices.

Ultimately, six candidates would be nominated for seven different positions on the ballot.

The only race that Democrats were unable to find a candidate for was the Attorney General race, setting former Attorney General Marty Jackley up to get his old job back unopposed.

“It is not a perfect process, we try to cover all the bases, we reach out to county chairs and talk to all Democrats,” State Democratic Party Chair Randy Seiler said about the challenges faced in recruiting candidates to run for statewide office. “We made literally hundreds of phone calls in terms of recruiting people.”

Delegates led off by confirming gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith’s pick for Lieutenant Governor, Aberdeen-area State Representative Jennifer Keintz (D-Eden). Keintz is a real estate broker who has served in the South Dakota State House since 2021.

Both Keintz and Smith were scheduled to give official acceptance speeches at a party dinner Saturday evening.

Sioux Falls Democrat Tom Cool, who has run for the state legislature and State Auditor previously, will face Republican nominee Monae Johnson.

Johnson capitalized on conservative dissatisfaction around election security to knock off incumbent Secretary of State Steve Barnett at the Republican convention last month.

“We have to wonder why those Republicans are so worried about the electoral process in South Dakota?” Cool said during his nominating speech. “They keep whining about election integrity, which we know is their code word for voter suppression.”

The Democratic nominee for State Treasurer is John Cunningham, who previously ran for the state’s Democratic party chair position.

Stephanie Marty, a Sioux Falls area Air Force veteran, will run for State Auditor against incumbent Rich Sattgast.

Retiring Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth will face incumbent Republican Chris Nelson for a Public Utilities Commissioner (PUC) slot. Barth spoke at length during his nomination speech against a CO2 pipeline currently being discussed in communities across South Dakota.

And Tim Azure of Wessington Springs will serve as the party’s nominee for School and Public Lands Commissioner.

Party leadership celebrated the ability to nominate candidates for nearly all of the positions available.

“I am confident that what comes out of this process will be a slate of candidates that we as Democrats can rally behind, we can support, and we can elect in November,” Seiler said.

South Dakota Republican Chair Dan Lederman expressed less confidence in the candidates nominated Saturday.

“The no-name and failed candidates of past elections that piled out of the Democrat candidate clown car today will provide very little challenge to the experience and credibility of the Republican candidates we nominated,” Lederman said in a statement to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory.

The general election takes place on November 8th.

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