The race is on to succeed Dennis Daugaard as the 33rd Governor of South Dakota. Three major candidates have filed: Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley, and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton.
- Although currently a resident of Pierre, where he serves as attorney general, Jackley is a native of Sturgis. He would be the 1st governor from Sturgis, and the 2nd from Meade County, following Walter Dale Miller.
- Jackley would be the 5th West River governor, following Tom Berry (Mellette County), Leslie Jensen (Hot Springs), M. Q. Sharpe (Kennebec), and Walter Dale Miller (Meade County). Jackley would be the 1st West River native to be elected governor since M. Q. Sharpe, who was elected in 1942 and reelected in 1944.
- Jackley is the 5th native of Meade County to run for governor, following:
- Carv Thompson, a Faith pharmacist who lost to Kneip in 1972;
- Bob Samuelson, a Faith rancher who was the Democratic challenger to George S. Mickelson in 1990;
- Gov. Walter Dale Miller, who succeeded to office and lost the 1994 Republican primary to Bill Janklow; and
- Libertarian Tom Gerber (Sturgis), who was his party’s nominee in 2006.
- Jackley would be the 1st “Hardrocker” governor – he is an electrical engineering graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Jackley would be the 2nd governor to hold an engineering degree; Carl Gunderson held a degree in civil engineering. Jackley would be the 11th to be a graduate of USD, where he got his law degree, and the 8th to be a graduate of the USD School of Law. He would be the 2nd governor to hold degrees from two different universities, following Dennis Daugaard (USD & Northwestern), and the first to hold two degrees from two in-state institutions.
- Jackley would be the 3rd Roman Catholic governor, following Richard F. Kneip and Mike Rounds.
- Jackley would be 1st former U.S. Attorney to serve as governor, and the 7th attorney general, following Coe Crawford, M. Q. Sharpe, George T. Mickelson, Sigurd Anderson, Frank Farrar and Bill Janklow. He would be the 10th governor to lack experience in a territorial or state legislature.
- Jackley is already the second longest-serving attorney general in the state’s history. He was appointed by Gov. Mike Rounds in 2009 to replace Attorney General Larry Long, who had resigned to become a circuit judge. Jackley was reelected in 2010 and 2014, which means he will have served 9 1/2 years as AG when he completes his current term. Only Mark Barnett, who served 12 years from 1991-2003, held the office for longer.
- Jackley would be the 16th attorney to serve as governor.
- If he prevails, Jackley’s election would continue the streak of Republican control of the South Dakota governor’s office that began in 1979. This period of control – 40 years as of the end of the Daugaard administration – is the longest in South Dakota history, and the longest current streak in the nation. It would be the 11th straight election victory by the Republican candidate for governor – the only longer streak is 13 straight elections from 1900 to 1924 (during the two-year term era).
- If Jackley wins the Republican primary, the Jackley v. Sutton matchup would be only the second time that the general election for governor features two West River nominees. The only other time was 1936, when Republican Hot Springs businessman Leslie Jensen successfully challenged Democratic Gov. Tom Berry, a Mellette County rancher who was running for an unprecedented third term.