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South Dakota primary shows move to the right

PIERRE, S.D. ñ The topic of abortion played a part in South Dakotaís June 6 primary election, and politicos claim that candidates with a far right, or more conservative, message faired better than moderates.

The stateís anti-abortion law, the most stringent in the nation, may have been the catalyst that led to the defeat of opponents of the bill. Some of those opponents did not need to participate in the primary, didnít seek re-election or were term-limited out of the state Legislature.

An unprecedented 10 American Indian candidates had filed for state legislative office, and five remain after the primary election. Seven of the candidates faced primary contests.

Bruce Whalen, Oglala, is running unopposed against Rep. Stephanie Herseth. Whalen is the liaison to Indian country for the state Republican Party. Terry Begay, Rosebud Sicangu/Navajo, failed to collect enough signatures on the petition to run on the Independent ticket for the U.S. House of Representatives seat. In 2004 Begay was a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House.

Two candidates on the Democratic ticket ñ state Senate candidate Charon Asetoyer, Comanche and executive director of the Native American Womenís Health Education Resource Center located on the Yankton Reservation; and Faith Spotted Eagle, Yankton Sioux and executive director of Braveheart Society, a candidate for state House ñ lost by nearly 2 ñ 1 margins. They claimed pro-choice as a part of their campaigns.

Paul Joseph, Rosebud Sioux, lost his bid for a seat in the state House in the newly created district located on and adjacent to the Rosebud Reservation. He was defeated by Larry Lucas, who had been a candidate in previous years and has been a preferred candidate by American Indian voters. He was previously defeated by Republican candidates preferred by non-Indian voters.

A federal lawsuit against the state caused the district to be split to afford American Indian voters a better chance to elect their preferred candidates.

Steve Emery, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, lost in his bid for state Senate. Emery, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who filed the court complaint that led to a split in his district, entered for the race for the first time. That district includes portions of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the Standing Rock Reservation.

Tom Van Norman, Emeryís brother, is the current member of the state House from one portion of the split district. Van Norman was unopposed in the primary.

Paula Long Fox, Rosebud Sioux Tribe member and a resident of Rapid City, will move on to the November election as a candidate for the House. Long Fox was the top vote-getter over two other candidates.

Two candidates from each district run for House seats.

Long Fox gathered 441 votes and Jeff Nelson put together 439, making them the two who will move on to the November elections. Gary Loudner, Crow Creek Sioux tribal member, came in third with 251 votes.

Democratic State Sen. Theresa Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux, was not opposed. Democratic State Legislator Jim Bradford, Oglala Sioux, also did not have any primary opposition.

Republican Maxine Broken Nose, Oglala Sioux, will also be included on the November ballot for the state House.

District 27, home district for Broken Nose and Bradford, is located mostly on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

A strong advocate for American Indian rights in the state was defeated, possibly based on his stand on the abortion ban. Republican Stan Adelstein was chairman of the State-Tribal Relations Committee and supported almost all the legislation that would positively impact Indian country.

Adelstein was defeated by Republican activist Elli Schwiesow by 52 percent to 48 percent of the vote. Adelstein narrowly defeated Schwiesow two years ago.

Schiesow will run against Democrat Tom Katus, an advocate for Indian country issues.

This primary election did not have any statewide races that would bring great numbers of people out to the polls. There also were no elections in Indian country that would bring American Indian voters out in large numbers.

South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson said that this was a very low turnout ñ lower than he had predicted, but not the lowest. Total voter turnout was 18.9 percent of eligible voters. Democrats, who represent the stateís minority party, turned out only 19.5 percent of those registered.

The lowest Democratic voter turnout in the state was in 2000, when there was only a 13.1 percent turnout, according to Nelson.

He said the highest number of Democrats, 46.9 percent, voted in 2004 when Herseth and Sen. Tom Daschle were opposed. Daschle was defeated in November 2004.

In Shannon County, home to the Pine Ridge Reservation, only 4.1 percent of voters turned out. That district had no primary contest. Only 7.4 percent of the voters turned out in Todd County on the Rosebud Reservation. Todd County is part of the newly split district, and there were candidates on the primary ballot.

PIERRE, S.D. ñ The topic of abortion played a part in South Dakotaís June 6 primary election, and politicos claim that candidates with a far right, or more conservative, message faired better than moderates.The stateís anti-abortion law, the most stringent in the nation, may have been the catalyst that led to the defeat of opponents of the bill. Some of those opponents did not need to participate in the primary, didnít seek re-election or were term-limited out of the state Legislature.An unprecedented 10 American Indian candidates had filed for state legislative office, and five remain after the primary election. Seven of the candidates faced primary contests.Bruce Whalen, Oglala, is running unopposed against Rep. Stephanie Herseth. Whalen is the liaison to Indian country for the state Republican Party. Terry Begay, Rosebud Sicangu/Navajo, failed to collect enough signatures on the petition to run on the Independent ticket for the U.S. House of Representatives seat. In 2004 Begay was a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House.Two candidates on the Democratic ticket ñ state Senate candidate Charon Asetoyer, Comanche and executive director of the Native American Womenís Health Education Resource Center located on the Yankton Reservation; and Faith Spotted Eagle, Yankton Sioux and executive director of Braveheart Society, a candidate for state House ñ lost by nearly 2 ñ 1 margins. They claimed pro-choice as a part of their campaigns.Paul Joseph, Rosebud Sioux, lost his bid for a seat in the state House in the newly created district located on and adjacent to the Rosebud Reservation. He was defeated by Larry Lucas, who had been a candidate in previous years and has been a preferred candidate by American Indian voters. He was previously defeated by Republican candidates preferred by non-Indian voters.A federal lawsuit against the state caused the district to be split to afford American Indian voters a better chance to elect their preferred candidates.Steve Emery, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, lost in his bid for state Senate. Emery, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who filed the court complaint that led to a split in his district, entered for the race for the first time. That district includes portions of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the Standing Rock Reservation.Tom Van Norman, Emeryís brother, is the current member of the state House from one portion of the split district. Van Norman was unopposed in the primary.Paula Long Fox, Rosebud Sioux Tribe member and a resident of Rapid City, will move on to the November election as a candidate for the House. Long Fox was the top vote-getter over two other candidates.Two candidates from each district run for House seats.Long Fox gathered 441 votes and Jeff Nelson put together 439, making them the two who will move on to the November elections. Gary Loudner, Crow Creek Sioux tribal member, came in third with 251 votes.Democratic State Sen. Theresa Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux, was not opposed. Democratic State Legislator Jim Bradford, Oglala Sioux, also did not have any primary opposition.Republican Maxine Broken Nose, Oglala Sioux, will also be included on the November ballot for the state House.District 27, home district for Broken Nose and Bradford, is located mostly on the Pine Ridge Reservation.A strong advocate for American Indian rights in the state was defeated, possibly based on his stand on the abortion ban. Republican Stan Adelstein was chairman of the State-Tribal Relations Committee and supported almost all the legislation that would positively impact Indian country. Adelstein was defeated by Republican activist Elli Schwiesow by 52 percent to 48 percent of the vote. Adelstein narrowly defeated Schwiesow two years ago.Schiesow will run against Democrat Tom Katus, an advocate for Indian country issues. This primary election did not have any statewide races that would bring great numbers of people out to the polls. There also were no elections in Indian country that would bring American Indian voters out in large numbers.South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson said that this was a very low turnout ñ lower than he had predicted, but not the lowest. Total voter turnout was 18.9 percent of eligible voters. Democrats, who represent the stateís minority party, turned out only 19.5 percent of those registered. The lowest Democratic voter turnout in the state was in 2000, when there was only a 13.1 percent turnout, according to Nelson.He said the highest number of Democrats, 46.9 percent, voted in 2004 when Herseth and Sen. Tom Daschle were opposed. Daschle was defeated in November 2004.In Shannon County, home to the Pine Ridge Reservation, only 4.1 percent of voters turned out. That district had no primary contest. Only 7.4 percent of the voters turned out in Todd County on the Rosebud Reservation. Todd County is part of the newly split district, and there were candidates on the primary ballot.