Dr. Jack Billion, the 2006 Democratic nominee for governor, passed away on Saturday. An orthopedic surgeon and U.S. Air Force veteran, Billion served in the State House of Representatives from Sioux Falls from 1993-96.
Ten years after leaving the legislature, Billion was motivated to run for governor in 2006 by Governor Mike Rounds’ signing of “abortion ban” legislation, which was intended to be a full frontal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming a right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade.
Billion won the Democratic nomination against former Farmers Union President Dennis Wiese of Flandreau. His challenge to Governor Rounds, a popular Republican incumbent, fell short, as Rounds was reelected with 61.7% to 36.1% for Billion.
Following his loss, Billion served for a time as chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and he continued to be active in Democratic Party politics.
The Dakota Scout has a more complete obituary of Billion.