Crabtree elected to lead Senate Republicans
Sen. Casey Crabtree will lead the Republican caucus in his chamber of the South Dakota Legislature for the next two years.
Freshly-elected GOP members of the next state Senate Friday evening at the Capitol selected the 39-year-old Madison business advocacy professional to serve as Majority Leader when the new term begins in January. Crabtree formally ran unopposed, though Big Stone City Sen. Jon Wiik had also been speculated as having interest in the position.
Crabtree has served as a party whip since 2021.
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“We want to provide responsible leadership that continues to keep South Dakota the greatest place to live, work and raise a family,” Crabtree said in a statement sent to The Dakota Scout. “We look forward to working with the House and the Governor to advance an agenda of economic freedom, small government and individual responsibility.”
Senate Republicans also re-elected Sen. Lee Schoenbeck as President Pro Tempore, opting for a second-consecutive term with the Watertown Republican presiding over the GOP-dominated Senate. Mitchell Sen. Josh Klum also received some votes from senators.
Schoenbeck held the position in 2005 and 2006 as well.
Sen. Mike Diedrich of Rapid City will remain as assistant majority leader, earning more support from the caucus than Sen. Erin Tobin, who had also been pursuing the spot.
Party whips elected were Sens. David Wheeler, Helene Duhamel, Ryan Maher and Jack Kolbeck.
Nesiba, Lesmeister tapped to lead Democrats
Sioux Falls Democratic Sen. Reynold Nesiba will take over as Minority Leader following Sen. Troy Heinert’s departure from the Legislature. Heinert termed out and was unable to seek re-election to the Senate.
Assistant Minority Leader for the next term will be Senator-elect Shawn Bordeaux, while the party’s whip will be Senator-elect Liz Larson.
House Democrats chose Rep. Oren Lesmeister to be minority leader, taking over for outgoing leader Jamie Smith. The Parade rancher and business owner has been assistant minority leader since 2021.
Assistant Minority Leader for the next term will be Rep. Erin Healy, while Reps. Kameron Nelson and Peri Pourier will serve as minority whips.
House Republicans are slated to select leadership Friday.
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