Should candidates for governor be able to choose their own running mates?
South Dakota lawmakers to revisit question in upcoming legislative session
South Dakota lawmakers will again consider allowing candidates for governor to pick their own running mates, taking the nomination process out of the hands of party delegates.
Sen. Jim Mehlhaff and Rep. Jessica Bahmuller have teamed up on a measure they’ll introduce in the coming weeks that does away with a state law that currently requires candidates for lieutenant governor to be chosen during a convention of party delegates. That part of the state’s electoral process has led to the potential of politicians with adversarial relationships being forced to run on the same ticket.
“I think there is a consensus that the governor should pick the lieutenant governor,” Mehlhaff told The Dakota Scout. “Those two work closely on policy together, and if they can’t do that, the job would be relegated to only presiding over the senate.”
That was almost the case in 2022 when former Sioux Falls lawmaker Steve Haugaard nearly upset Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden in his bid to secure the nomination to be reelected at the South Dakota Republican Party Convention. Haugaard had unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Kristi Noem in the primary contest before allowing himself to be considered during the GOP convention to run alongside Noem on the general election ballot.