Marshall Lovrien running for judge, Drew Dennert hopes to move to Brown County Commission

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The circulation of nominating petitions for local and state elected offices has begun, and there will be some new faces in the races.

A current state legislator has filed a petition to run for Brown County Commission, an Aberdeen attorney seeking one of the four judge posts in the 5th Judicial Circuit and a political newcomer is running in District 1.

South Dakota's primary election is June 7, with the general election on Nov. 8.

Aberdeen attorney Marshall Lovrien is running for one of the judge spots. The 5th Circuit includes northeastern South Dakota and is based in Brown County. The nonpartisan judge positions are up for re-election every eight years.

Republican Al Novstrup of Aberdeen has filed for re-election as District 3 senator. Current District 2 state Rep. Kaleb Weis, R-Aberdeen, now lives in District 3 as the result of redistricting and will seek another House term. And Republican Logan Manhart of Bath is running for District 1 House.

Drew Dennert, a District 3 House member from Aberdeen, is in his third term. But the Republican is the first person to file a petition to run for Brown County Commission this year.

There are four open seats on the Brown County Commission, one two-year position and three four-year seats.

The two-year seat was previously held by Rachel Kippley, who was recently hired as Brown County Fair manager. Mike Gage was appointed to fill the seat through this year. The terms of Republicans Mike Wiese and Doug Fjeldheim and Democrat-turned-independent Dennis Feickert all end this year.

Feickert and Wiese were both re-elected to the county commission four years ago and had 20 years of prior experience on the commission. Fjeldheim is completing his second term.

Feickert confirmed Wednesday that he is not seeking re-election.

"I am absolutely sick and tired of all the politics," he said, noting he recently changed his voter registration from Democrat to independent.

Dennert said he was aware of Feickert's plans and feels he can provide both an urban and rural perspective on the county commission. As a county commissioner, Dennert said, he can also be closer to home for his young family and be a lobbying voice for the county in Pierre.

Lovrien said the 5th Judicial Circuit has a history of judges who are well-versed, well-learned and impartial.

Growing up, Lovrien watched his father Larry served as both a magistrate and circuit judge from 1991 to 2006. Marshall Lovrien said that experience was a factor in his decision to run as he learned first-hand the importance and value of public service.

Lovrien filed for the seat currently held by Judge Jon Flemmer, who has not submitted a nominating petition.

The other 5th Circuit judges are Tony Portra, Richard Sommers and Gregg Magera. Portra has filed his nominating petition.

Redistricting means changes in local legislative districts

New legislative district boundaries as the result of redistricting will force some changes. Most notable is that District 2 is now east of Sioux Falls. District 2 Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-Doland, now lives in District 22. Weis now lives in District 3.

Greenfield, who is term-limited in the House, said she hasn't yet decided on her election plans.

District 2 Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, announced plans to pursue a new elected position in 2022 — commissioner of school and public lands.

District 3 continues to include much of Aberdeen. Rep. Carl Perry, R-Aberdeen, serves with Dennert and Novstrup.

District 22, which includes part of Clark County, also includes all of Spink and Beadle counties. Rep. Roger Chase, R-Huron; Rep. Lynn Schneider, R-Huron; and Sen. David Wheeler, R-Huron; are the current incumbents.

District 1 encompasses the vast majority of rural Brown County outside of Aberdeen, as well as all of Day and Marshall counties. Roberts County is also in District 1, with the exception of the southeast corner. That is now in District 4 along with Grant, Deuel, rural Codington, Hamlin and the rest of Clark counties.

Up for re-election in District 1 are Sen. Michael Rohl, R-Aberdeen; Rep. Tamara St. John, R-Sisseton; and Rep. Jennifer Keitz, D-Eden.

A small portion of Brown County, including the southeastern corner of Aberdeen, is included in District 23. The district also includes Campbell, McPherson, Walworth, Edmunds, Potter, Faulk and Hand counties. The incumbents are Sen. Bryan Breitling, R-Miller; Rep. Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham; and Rep. Charlie Hoffman, R-Eureka.

Petition circulation continues through March 29

Petition circulation for statewide candidates not determined at party conventions and all legislative and county offices continues until March 29.

While both the Aberdeen City Council and school board have terms that expire this year, nominating petition circulation doesn't start until March 1 and runs through March 29. The election is June 7.

Here's a look at who's up for re-election:

  • Four seats on the Brown County Commission as well as sheriff, auditor and register of deeds. All are four-year positions, with the exception of one two-year seat on the county commission.

  • Two three-year terms on the school board currently held by Duane Alm, who was first elected in 2002, and Andrew Miller, first elected in 2016.

  • Three five-year terms on the city council, currently held by Clint Rux (Southeast District), Dave Lunzman (Northwest District) and Mark Remily (Northeast District). Rux was first elected in 2005, Remily in 2012 and Lunzman in 2017.

In Brown County, Auditor Cathy McNickle, a Republican, is completing her first four-year term. Republican Sheriff Mark Milbrandt has served since 1979, and Brown County Treasurer Patty VanMeter, a Republican, is also currently acting as interim register of deeds since Roberta Nichols, who was elected in 2018, resigned in October.

County petitions filed with the county auditor's office, city petitions through the city finance office and school board petitions through the school business office. Legislative petitions are filed with the South Dakota secretary of state's office.

Cities and school boards can also have elections on April 12 or June 21. Petition circulation for elections on April 12 is from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25. Circulation for June 21 elections is from April 7 to May 13.

Statewide petitions are available online through the South Dakota Secretary of State's website or through the local county auditor's office.

Challengers expected for both congressional seats

The two-year term for U.S. representative currently held by Republican Dusty Johnson ends this year, as does the six-year term for U.S. Senate currently held by Republican John Thune. Thune recently announced plans to seek re-election, and challengers have announced their intentions in both races.

Johnson is completing his second term in the U.S. House. State Rep. Taffy Howard, R-Rapid City, has announced plans to run, which would set up a GOP primary battle.

Thune wants a fourth term in the Senate. Democrat Brian Bengs of Aberdeen announced plans to challenge Thune.

There are a host of statewide races this year, including for governor, public utilities commissioner, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer and commissioner of school and public lands.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, is up for her second term. She could potentially face fellow Republican and District 10 Rep. Steve Haugaard from Sioux Falls in a primary.

Brock Greenfield hopes to replace Republican Ryan Brunner as commissioner of school and public lands. Brunner cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: As petition process begins, changes in local elected offices already possible

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