House passes ‘compromise’ on statewide candidates in primaries bill

Only allows governor to select running mate
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.(KOTA)
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 2:19 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) – A bill originally designed to select all statewide candidates for the major political parties via primary was amended to only allow the gubernatorial candidates to choose their running mate.

The House passed the amended measure, SB 40, by a 48 to 21 vote Thursday afternoon.

Unlike previous heated debates among Republicans who supported the change to a primary system and those who preferred the convention system, today’s discussion was muted and short.

The amendment’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jessica Bahmuller from Alexandria, said the state Republican leadership and Republican legislative leadership agreed with the compromise.

“The Republican Party is a huge family,” Rep. Fitzgerald said. “Our family has come together with a compromise. The State Republican Party is willing to work together.”

The sponsor of the original bill that would have allowed the gubernatorial candidate to name their running mate and would have put all statewide candidates through the June primary supported the change.

“It is the right of the governor to select who their lieutenant governor is,” said Republican Rep. Roger Chase from Huron. “That’s what prompted me to be a prime sponsor. Many of us feel it should go one step further. But to save the Republican Party, I support the bill.”

The bill returns to the Senate for its concurrence or rejection of the compromise.