Pennington County expects about 11,000 voters or a 20 percent turnout of registered voters on Election Day. Most other Black Hills county auditors on Monday expected participation in that range.
One political observer says a smaller turnout statewide may upset predictions that front-runner Mike Rounds will easily
win the Republican primary.
Don Frankenfeld, a veteran campaigner and former legislator,
says tepid support for Rounds and a robust showing for Stace
Nelson of Fulton and Larry Rhoden of Union Center could
force a runoff. Rhoden lives in Meade County, and the county
auditor's office in Sturgis is predicting county voter
turnout in the upper 40 percent range.
"Politics is always surprising and there's room for surprise
here. There's room for a lightning strike," Frankenfeld said
Monday. "There are five people running, so if the vote gets
split and if either Rhoden or Stace Nelson can break out of
the pack, then there's a chance for some excitement out of
this election and a consequent runoff."
The other GOP primary candidates are Annette Bosworth of
Sioux Falls and Jason Ravnsborg of Yankton.
Frankenfeld believes the diverse electorate of Minnehaha
County, and the Tea Party conservatives of Pennington and Fall River counties, could influence the primary's results.
Polling places open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.