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House rejects move to place AG, SOS nominations on primary ballot

South Dakota Capitol
Brent Duerre

House lawmakers are rejecting a bill that moves the nomination of the attorney general and secretary of state to the primary election.

Currently, those two constitutional officer candidates are chosen at party conventions by precinct committee members.

The idea has failed the last two sessions.

Republican Representative Tyler Tordsen has brought the idea up twice this year.

He said voters should be able to weigh in on candidates who hold positions of statewide importance.

“I just think that that process that worked well 30 years ago, 20 years ago, has slowly drifted away from the people. I think more than half of my colleagues don’t even know who their precinct person is," Tordsen said. "So, what does that say about the general South Dakotan, too?”

Efforts to change the nomination process for certain constitutional officers came following the 2022 Republican convention.

That convention was the same week Senate lawmakers removed and permanently barred Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from ever holding state office again.

The 2022 convention saw the ousting of incumbent Secretary of State Steve Barnett, a close race for Attorney General and an effort to unseat Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden.

The proposal to move nominations to the primary ballot is dead, for now.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.