Lowe enters South Dakota governor's race as Democrat - KOTA Territory News

Lowe enters South Dakota governor's race as Democrat

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A former head of South Dakota's state wildfire agency, who left office last year for the private sector, said he's running for governor, becoming the first Democrat to do so.

Joe Lowe, 68, was director of the state Wildland Fire Suppression Division from its creation in 2001 until his retirement in 2012. He now runs an art gallery in Rapid City and leads an emergency management consulting firm.

Lowe started his firefighting career in California and was a city councilman and mayor in Mission Viejo, a city of about 95,000 people.

Lowe said he wants more openness in South Dakota government and better pay for school teachers.

"If your tactics aren't working then change your tactics," he told KEVN-TV. "Folks haven't changed their tactics, so it's time for a new team and I'm part of that new team."

Lowe is the first Democrat to announce a run for governor. Incumbent Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard is expected to seek another term. His spokesman, Tony Venhuizen, told the Argus Leader that Daugaard had no comment on Lowe's candidacy.

"He is focused on running the state and getting ready for the legislative session," Venhuizen said.

Former state Rep. Lora Hubbel, 55, of Sioux Falls, is challenging Daugaard in the Republican primary. Former University of South Dakota law professor and health care administrator Mike Myers, 77, is running as an independent; and Curtis Strong announced he's running as a Constitution Party candidate.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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