- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - State campaign finance reports released Friday show hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a car title lending company for ballot measure campaigns and primary contributions to favored Republican lawmakers from Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

They cover January through May 23. Here’s a look at what’s in the reports filed ahead of South Dakota’s June 7 primary election:

DAVID AND GOLIATH

A Georgia-based auto title lender has sunk roughly $2.4 million into a pair of South Dakota ballot question committees aimed at thwarting short-term loan interest rate caps in the state. That amount includes nearly $240,000 this fundraising period in industry-backed financing to the organizations. A vote doesn’t come until November.

Meanwhile, a group of short-term lending opponents pushing a ballot measure to cap interest rates for payday and title loans at 36 percent annually pulled in about $4,400 during the same period.

GOVERNOR’S LARGESSE

GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard gave $1,000 each to at least nine Republican state Senate candidates who face primary elections, including a lawmaker who helped lead the push for the governor’s half-cent sales tax hike to raise teacher pay.

Daugaard appreciates the support he’s received from legislators in his campaigns and wants to return it, spokesman Tony Venhuizen said, noting that the donations are comparable to those from Daugaard in past primaries.

WEST RIVER PRIMARIES

Two west river Republican House members campaigning to escape term limits by challenging their GOP counterparts in the Senate have teed up a pair of high-profile primary races that could influence the partisan tilt of the chamber.

Republican Rep. Jacqueline Sly, who helped lead the teacher pay charge, significantly leads fundraising in her race to oust conservative Sen. Phil Jensen. Sly raised nearly $26,000 and has more than $21,000 on hand, compared to Jensen’s $7,400 haul and roughly $4,200 bank balance.

Conservative Rep. Lance Russell, who is running to the right of sitting GOP Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, hadn’t filed a report as of Friday evening. Rampelberg raised about $13,700 and had about $6,300 on hand.

BALLOT MEASURES

A group that’s pushing a constitutional amendment in South Dakota to expand rights for crime victims and their families raised roughly $225,000 from a California businessman backing the measure. The proposal is in honor of Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a University of California, Santa Barbara, student who was stalked and killed in 1983 by a former boyfriend.

The national effort is bankrolled by her brother, high tech billionaire Henry Nicholas.

An organization backing a constitutional amendment that would remove candidates’ party affiliations from primary and general election ballots pulled in nearly $54,000, nearly all from the non-profit Open Primaries.

And the group behind a labor union-backed measure that would give corporate or non-profit organizations the right to charge fees in right-to-work South Dakota raised roughly $93,000, all from an Illinois-based organization named Americans for Fairness.

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