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Chris Nelson Endorses Krebs for Secretary of State

The fight for the SDGOP nomination for Secretary of State may be more interesting than the primary battle for the Senate nomination. Just when I thought Assistant Secretary Patricia Miller's announcement and endorsements signaled that the GOP was ready to pick Miller's experience and gentler marketability over Shantel Krebs's fiery ambition, Krebs lands the unexpected and noteworthy endorsement of the last man to do the Secretary of State's job right, Chris Nelson:

Last year Shantel Krebs took a bold step announcing that she was running for Secretary of State in order to provide strong leadership needed for that office. Since that announcement I’ve had numerous conversations with Shantel about her candidacy.

Shantel knows that providing outstanding customer service is one of the most important aspects of being secretary of state. She understands the importance of managing the election process in a non-partisan, unbiased manner while working in a team manner with county auditors across the state. Shantel knows that competent management involves seeking input from others to form the best solutions for the people of South Dakota.

I have become convinced that she is committed to improving the secretary of state’s office and has the passion and ability to accomplish that goal. For that reason I offer my endorsement of her candidacy to be the next Republican Secretary of State for the great state of South Dakota [Chris Nelson, quoted in Shantel Krebs, press release, 2014.04.29].

Nelson's predecessor, Joyce Hazeltine, has weighed in for Miller. Nelson's endorsement is more unexpected since he's still working in Pierre, enjoying his appointment to the Public Utilities Commission. He would find himself sitting at the grown-ups table, at convention and at work next year, with the winner of the race; picking a favorite pre-convention could make things a little more awkward for Nelson than they do for the happily retired Hazeltine.

Nelson's endorsement of Krebs places him in the middle of a hotly contested race. At the Lawrence County GOP dinner Saturday, Krebs and Miller went after each other with arguably more intensity than the Senate candidates. Krebs accused the current Secretary of State's office (which Miller whipped into shape after she replaced Secretary Jason Gant's disgraced deputy Pat Powers in 2012) of failing on customer service and management of corporate filings. Miller followed with a pointed rebuttal on both counts. Krebs said the Custer County auditor had expressed to her concern about the office's ability to manage elections; Miller replied that she had talked to the Custer County auditor as well and had heard nothing but enthusiasm for working with her office.

The Senate candidates' fun will be over on June 3; the marquee battle at convention (June 19–21, Rapid City) will be Krebs vs. Miller, with the Nelson vs. Hazeltine undercard.


  1. Troy 2014.04.30

    The fact the GOP has such capable competitors for this important office is good in my mind. The fact they are running hard for the office on the issues of the office is good.

    And, the fact they are both getting endorsements across the state from great people only reinforces their caliber.

    In the end, I'm sure that virtually 100% of the general election GOP voters will be pleased with whomever is picked.

    Who is running on the Dem's side?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.30

    No one yet, Troy. I have no doubt that once the Krebs-Miller battle is resolved, Dems will face the usual uphill battle.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.30

    Does a Chris Nelson endorsement really matter to anybody?

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.05.01

    Joyce Hazeltine was SOS forever, wasn't she? I don't remember any talk at all about partisanship or incompetence. I feel like her recommendation carries a lot of weight.

  5. Les 2014.05.01

    Chris is a fine commissioner. Pat Miller has had my support over Shantel due to the fact Shantel was willing to run with Mike Rounds lie on why it was ok to put SD Aero fund dollars down the hole in Lead. I gave her facts as did others and she along with Gant and many others chose Rounds disception..
    All that being said, Chris may know something we don't about Pat Miller and possibly her getting too much Gant on her. Chris has not been a fan of Jason Gant from what I've heard..
    I do not think Nelson's support of Krebs will help her as conventioneers are already looking at his appointment, Gant's push into office by the Rounds machine, Pat tidying up the Rounds Daugaard mess in SOS office and Nelsons endorsement for his own deputy Teresa Bray not getting her past the convention.

  6. Douglas Wiken 2014.05.01

    Shantel thinks fuel-efficient cars should pay more taxes. That should send her to the back of the line.

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