Reedy, Nesselhuf and Schafer elected Tuesday

Reedy, Nesselhuf and Schafer elected Tuesday by David Lias District 17 voters chose to send two Democratic incumbents back to the South Dakota Legislature Tuesday.

Sen. Joe Reedy and Rep. B.J. Nesselhuf, both of Vermillion, won re-election.

Republicans kept a firm grip on the 105-member South Dakota Legislature in Tuesday's election, however, winning strong majorities in both the House and Senate.

Joining the Legislature's majority will be Republican Donna Schafer, Vermillion, who was elected to the state House.

Many familiar politicians were re-elected, a few got the boot, lots of new faces were added to legislative ranks, and several lawmakers switched chambers.

The political atmosphere for Reedy and Nesselhuf will remain difficult. When the Legislature convenes in January, it will be lead by a new Republican governor.

House Republicans will continue to wield more than a two-thirds majority. The GOP has had a 50-20 margin in the House for the last two years; the new House will have 21 Democrats and 49 Republicans.

In the Senate, the current 24-11 margin for the GOP will widen by one more Republican, making the new split 10 Democrats and 25 Republicans.

Although most legislation requires only a majority to pass, some bills need votes of two-thirds, or 24 in the Senate and 47 in the House.

In a bid to switch from the House to the Senate, Republican Judy Clark of Vermillion fell short in her attempt to unseat Reedy.

Republicans were virtually assured of retaining control of both the Senate and House because they fielded candidates for far more races than did Democrats. The GOP failed to run candidates in only three races, while Democrats left 37 slots open.

In other local races, Republican Gerald Sommervold and Democrat Leslie Kephart were elected to the Clay County Commission.

Vermillion voters also affirmed efforts by the Vermillion City Council to condemn private property needed to complete the Chestnut Street project.

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