Wrap up of the 2012 general election - KOTA Territory News

Wrap up of the 2012 general election

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Now that the dust is settling on the 2012 general election, here's a little wrap-up.

There were no surprises in the state legislative races.  It seems the Democrats won in their strongholds while the Republicans were victorious just about every place else.  That's South Dakota politics.

Incumbent Representative Kristi Noem beat back a spirited challenge by Democrat Matt Varilek.  In the end, Noem made it look easy, 58 percent of the vote.

The big surprise, depending upon what poll you believed in, was the defeat of Initiated Measure 15, the one-cent sales tax that would have gone specifically to education and healthcare.  With about three fourths of the votes tallied, a solid majority (57 percent) say "no" to forking over that penny on the dollar.  There is still some vote counting but that percentage hasn't changed all night.

Also going down in flames are two governor pet projects, Referred Law 14 (large project development fund) and Referred Law 16 (teacher bonuses).  About 58 percent of the voters don't want the project fund and a whopping 68 percent are against creating a bonus program for teachers.  Governor Dennis Daugaard personally campaigned for Referred Law 14.

Voters also overwhelmingly approved a change to the state constitution, requiring a balanced budget.  Lawmakers already do it but there was nothing in the constitution that required them to do so.

In Wyoming, state Republicans increased their stranglehold on the legislature and Republican Incumbent John Barrasso is re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

On the national side, with Obama still in the White House, Republicans retaining control of the House and Democrats holding onto the Senate, expect more jockeying for political positions when lawmakers head back to Washington.  Speaker John Boehner says their retention of the House is a sign voters won't want to see taxes raised; something the president has wanted along with cuts to balance the federal budget.  No deal means draconian cuts in many areas, including defense, go into effect next year.

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