SOUTH DAKOTA
     Nov. 6, 2018 Governor

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+Kristi Noem/Larry Rhoden (R) 
172,706
50.99%
Billie Sutton/Michelle Lavallee (D)
161,171
47.58%
Kurt Evans/Richard Shelatz (L)
4,838
1.43%

338,715

Registered Voters 544,282.  Ballots Cast 341,048.
Plurality 11,535 votes (3.41 percentage points).

  SD Secretary of State




Notes
:  Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) was term-limited. 
In 2016 Trump carried South Dakota by 29.79 percentage points, and the last time a Democrat was elected governor here was  in 1974.  State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) made a race of it, ultimately losing to U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R) by just 3.41 percentage points. 

In the June 5 Republican primary Noem defeated Attorney General Marty Jackley to 56.04% to 43.96%.  Noem, 46, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010 after serving two terms in the state House.  Sutton, 34, from Burke, was a professional rodeo rider until an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.  He works as an investment executive at a community bank; he was first elected to the state Senate in 2010 and elected Minority Leader in 2015.

Sutton announced Michelle Lavallee, a Sioux Falls businesswoman (principal at The Lavallee Group, which provides strategy and marketing solutions) and longtime Repubublican as his running mate on June 14. Noem announced state Rep. Larry Rhoden, a rancher from Meade County, as her running mate on June 20.

Noem and Sutton debated at KELO-TV studios in Sioux Falls on Oct. 23 (+); all three candidates participated in forum hosted by South Dakota Public Broadcasting in Sioux Falls on Oct. 25 (+); and Noem and Sutton participated in a debate hosted by the Sioux Falls Rotary Club on Oct. 29 (+).
  Also of note, on Oct. 18 the Argus Leader endorsed Sutton (+).  The National Institute on Money in Politics reports the Noem campaign received contributions of $3.4 million compared to $1.3 million for the Sutton campaign (+).

Campaign Managers:
Kristi Noem:  Justin Brasell
(March 2017)  Also leading Sen. Roger Wicker's re-election in Mississippi.  Owner at Triumph Campaigns in Jackson, MS since 2010.  General consultant on U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany for U.S. Senate 2016.  Campaign manager on Tom Cotton for Senate, 2014.  General consultant on Kristi Noem's 2012 re-election.  Campaign manager on Tate Reeves for Lt. Gov., 2011.  Campaign manager on Friends of John Thune, Jan. 2009-Nov. 2010.  Campaign manager on McConnell for Senate, July 2007-Nov. 2008.  Chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, Jan. 2005-June 2007; camapign manager on Geoff Davis for Congress, Jan. 2003-Dec. 2004.   B.B.A. from University of Mississippi, 1998.  Also, sequence unclear, served as Midwest political director at the NRCC.


Billie Sutton:  Suzanne Jones Pranger
(April 2017)  Came to the campaign from position as executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, where she started in Aug. 2015.  Clerked for a Judge in Sioux Falls for a year.  J.D (2014), M.A. in political science, and B.S. (2011) from University of South Dakota. President of USD College Democrats, 2010-11.  Fifth generation South Dakotan.



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