- Associated Press - Thursday, June 14, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Democratic governor hopeful Billie Sutton has chosen a longtime Republican businesswoman to be his running mate.

Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy, said Thursday that Sioux Falls businesswoman and now-lieutenant governor candidate Michelle Lavallee brings “balance and bipartisanship” to his campaign.

Sutton’s team says Lavallee recently switched parties to join the ticket. Lavallee says South Dakota is ready to break away from “politics as usual, regardless of political affiliation.”

The campaign says Lavallee has worked in management roles at Raven Industries, Avera McKennan Hospital and the University of South Dakota. Sutton says Lavallee has the experience to help build a stronger state economy.

Sutton wants to become the first Democratic governor elected in South Dakota since 1974. He faces Republican Kristi Noem, the state’s U.S. representative, in the general election.

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