- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The dominant contest in this election cycle is the race to fill the open seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, but South Dakota residents also must choose a new member of Congress, a governor and other state leaders, as well as decide on three ballot measures. Here’s what can be found on the Nov. 4 ballot:

U.S. SENATE: Former Gov. Mike Rounds easily won the GOP nod and has been the front-runner for much of the race, but he has challengers on his heels in Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler, a former Republican who spent 18 years in Congress. Republicans are trying to pick up six Senate seats, and the tightening in this race has attracted national political advertising money. Also on the ballot is independent Gordon Howie, a former Republican state lawmaker.

U.S. HOUSE: Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem has maintained a large lead both in name recognition and fundraising over Democratic challenger Corinna Robinson, a retired Army veteran. Noem, who was first elected in 2010, has campaigned on issues of agriculture and human trafficking, while Robinson says she’ll focus on increasing teacher salaries and promoting technology careers.

GOVERNOR: In his quest for a second four-year term, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard has run on a platform of fiscal responsibility and economic growth. He has has drawn some ire from school boards and educators for cutting school aid in 2011 when the sluggish economy limited state tax collections. Democratic challenger state Rep. Susan Wismer, the state’s first woman to be nominated for governor by a major party, supports expanding Medicaid and making state government more open, and has been critical of Daugaard’s handling of the state budget.

Independent candidate Mike Myers, a former law school professor, is looking for increased teacher pay and dropping the Common Core education standards - the latter also supported by Daugaard and Wismer. The lieutenant governor candidates are: Matt Michels with Daugaard, Susy Blake with Wismer and Lora Hubbel with Myers.

INITIATED MEASURE 17: The so-called patient choice measure has split the medical community, with the state’s medical association - dominated by doctors and specialty hospitals - in favor of it and health insurers and large hospital networks opposed. If approved, doctors who agree to the conditions set forth by insurers, including payments for services provided to patients, could join an insurer’s preferred providers list. Supporters say it would give South Dakota residents the freedom to choose their doctor, but opponents of the measure said it would neither provide more choice nor reduce costs.

INITIATED MEASURE 18: If approved, the state minimum wage would increase from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour; increase the $2.13 hourly tip wage to half the minimum wage; and tie future increases to the cost of living. Supporters say the measure would help boost South Dakota’s lagging personal income, while opponents say it could force businesses to increase prices, lay off workers or reduce benefits.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT Q: Passage would authorize the Legislature to allow roulette, keno and craps games at Deadwood casinos that now only offer slot machines, poker and blackjack. The additional games also could be offered at the state’s tribal casinos. Supporters say casinos in the historic Black Hills gambling town are hurting because of increased competition. Opponents say the measure would expand gambling and increase social ills caused by gambling addictions, such as crime.

SECRETARY OF STATE: Republican Shantel Krebs, Democrat Angelia Schultz, Libertarian and Lori Stacey with the Constitution Party are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Jason Gant.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Libertarian Chad Haber is challenging incumbent Republican Marty Jackley.

AUDITOR: Libertarian Kurt Evans is challenging incumbent Republican Steve Barnett.

TREASURER: Democrat Denny Pierson and Libertarian Ken Santema are challenging Rich Sattgast, the incumbent Republican.

COMMISSIONER OF SCHOOL AND PUBLIC LANDS: Republican Ryan Brunner, the current deputy commissioner, and Libertarian John English are running for the open seat.

PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSIONER: Democrat David Allen and Wayne Schmidt with the Constitutional Party are trying to unseat incumbent Gary Hanson, a Republican.

LEGISLATURE: All 35 senators and 70 representatives are running, and there’s no chance Republicans will give up control of either chamber because of the large number of uncontested races.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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