Backers of Rep. Stace Nelson's campaign for U.S. Senate are floating on Twitter the claim that Nelson got the most votes of all South Dakota State Representatives yet gets called "unelectable" by the Rounds-Wadhams campaign machine.

I haven't seen the Rounds-Wadhams press release using that language about the Fulton Fulminator. But we can look at the election results from 2010 and 2012 to check this claim. The truth depends on how technical you want to be.

The claim that Nelson got the most votes of any state rep. cannot refer to the 2010 election. In his first run for office, Nelson came out first out of four candidates in District 25, winning 4,814 votes. But in contested races in 2010, 27 winners of State House seats got more votes than that. 14 of those 27 winners were in three-way races, meaning it was easier for them to rack up votes than Nelson in his four-way race.

In 2012, Nelson switched from District 25 to 19 (a big change, making him campaign more south toward Hutchinson, Douglas, and Bon Homme instead of east toward Minnehaha and Moody). He boosted his vote total 44% to 6,956. No House candidate in a contested race got more votes than that. But note that this time Nelson was in a three-way race. The next vote-getters were Jim Bolin (6,760), David Lust (6,355), Jacqueline Sly (6,308), quitter and woman-hater Jon Hansen (6,217), Dan Dryden (6,145), Scott Parsley (6,069), and Brock Greenfield (6,049). All of those but Sly fought four-way races and thus had to work harder to break 6,000.

Nelson's backers can say pish-posh to all this analysis, but if we just look at the words and ask which state rep got the most votes in the 2012 general election, they'd still be wrong to say "Stace Nelson." 7,737 voters marked Mike Verchio's name on the District 30 House ballot. 7,122 District 12 voters checked Mark Mickelson. Verchio and Mickelson had no Democratic opponents on their two-man ballots, but if we're looking at the strict meanings of words, Reps. Verchio and Mickelson got more votes than Rep. Nelson in the 2012 election.