Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

SD Dem Leadership Has Concerns Regarding Republican Supermajority


Republicans hold a supermajority in the South Dakota statehouse. For Democratic legislators, every seat counts to ensure their caucus is represented on committees. 

There were 16 Democratic lawmakers in Pierre during the last legislative session, compared to 91 Republicans.

Troy Heinert of District 26 served as minority leader in the Senate this year. He trailed his Republican opponent early on election night. Heinert says this election mirrors his 20-18 race.

“You know, I expected my opponent to have a lead after those counties were counted. And now we have the most populous counties—that’s where I’m from—and you still have Crow Creek and Rosebud Reservation. Those have always broken generally pretty strong for me.”

That’s what happened this year too. Heinert leads with 79% of the votes. Other Democratic candidates were facing much tighter races late into election night. District 1 Senator Susan Wismer was trailing her Republican opponent by fourteen percentage points by midnight central time. District 15 Senator Reynold Nesiba was trailing his opponent by eight percentage points. 

In the House, Democratic Representative for District 14 Erin Healy faces another tight race. She’s hopeful because more people are refusing to vote solely along party lines. 

“Which I think is so important anyway, to really research the candidate and understand what they have to offer and to vote for the best person who they know will do good work and make our state a better place to live.”

Senator Troy Heinert says losing any seat makes it even more difficult to represent party issues in legislative committees. 

“That’s not how this process is supposed to work either. We need to really look at how we draw these districts and get a more equal representation across the state.”

He says he’s watching any race with a caucus seat on the line. 

Jackie is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls Studio.