GOP governor, House races top South Dakota primary ballot

GOP governor, House races top South Dakota primary ballot
GOP governor, House races top South Dakota primary ballot

Republican voters picking a nominee in South Dakota's marquee primary for governor also will select a candidate Tuesday for a statewide U.S. House seat while joining other residents in weighing changes to the "Marsy's Law" victims' bill of rights in the state constitution.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time, with Republicans choosing in their high-profile governor primary between Attorney General Marty Jackley and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem. Former Public Utilities commissioner Dusty Johnson, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and state Sen. Neal Tapio are competing to be the GOP's congressional candidate.

While only registered Republicans will be able to vote in the GOP primary for governor, U.S. House and state legislative races, all voters will be able to cast ballots on Constitutional Amendment Y. It would tweak Marsy's Law to help police and prosecutors cut down on unforeseen bureaucratic problems it has created.

Democrats have legislative primaries in several districts that are open to registered Democrats, independents and voters with no party affiliation.

Noem and Jackley have fought to break out in the highly competitive governor primary, with the winner slated to be the front-runner facing well-funded Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton in the general election. The Republican candidates have defined themselves more on experience and accomplishments than on policy differences.

Noem would be the first female governor nominee chosen by South Dakota Republicans. She has emphasized her role negotiating the 2014 farm bill and the GOP's federal tax cuts during her four terms in Congress.

Jackley has passed legislation through the Statehouse combating public corruption, fighting human trafficking and imposing tougher penalties on drug dealers since he became attorney general in 2009. He previously served as U.S. attorney for South Dakota.

In the Republican House race, Johnson is the front-runner and has an endorsement from his former boss, Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Johnson pledged not to run attack ads in the race after Krebs aired spots criticizing his use of a state airplane. Super PACs from outside South Dakota have opposed both Johnson and Krebs.

Johnson is running a well-funded campaign as a more traditional conservative, while Krebs and Tapio have aligned themselves closer to President Donald Trump. Tapio is an entrepreneur who headed Trump's South Dakota campaign.

The Republican who triumphs in the primary will go up against Democratic former judge Tim Bjorkman, Libertarian George Hendrickson and independent Ronald Wieczorek in the general election.

South Dakota would become the first state to change "Marsy's Law" of those that have enacted it if voters approve Constitutional Amendment Y, though Montana voters passed a version in 2016 that the state Supreme Court later tossed out.

The proposed changes — which the Marsy's Law campaign supports — would require victims to opt in to many of their rights and specifically allow law enforcement to share information with the public to help solve crimes.

Officials say Marsy's Law has caused unintended consequences since it passed in 2016. At least three large counties hired new people to work with victims, privacy provisions in the amendment have curtailed the information that some law enforcement agencies release to the public to help solve crimes, and prosecutors' offices must now track down and notify a broader swath of victims about their cases.

It's named after Marsalee "Marsy" Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend. The California businessman who bankrolled Marsy's Law in South Dakota in 2016 has donated $450,000 to fund the new campaign, which hasn't faced organized opposition.

Voters across South Dakota are also set to decide 24 state legislative primaries in the election.

This article was written by cool news network.

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