South Dakota's last Democratic governor dies
Wollman was the first lieutenant governor to become governor through a vacancy in office
Harvey Wollman, the last Democrat to serve as governor of the state of South Dakota, died Oct. 18 at the age of 87.
Wollman was the first governor in South Dakota history to get to the post by merit of being lieutenant governor, according to Tony Venhuizen, a historian on the state’s governors. Wollman ascended to the governorship after Gov. Dick Kneip was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 to be ambassador to Singapore.
When he took office as governor in July 1978, Wollman had already lost the Democratic primary in June of that year to be the party’s nominee for governor in the November general election. Democrat Roger McKellips, a banker and state senator from Alcestor, won the nomination. McKellips went on to lose to Republican Bill Janklow ahead of Janklow’s first term.
Janklow would go on to be the longest-serving governor in state history.