• Few contests for county, state races on June 5 ballot
BROOKINGS – Brookings County Democrats won’t have much to do in the voting booth during the June 5 primary election balloting, but Republicans will help decide the outcome of one of the more interesting state-level races.
Neither party has a lot going on in county-level races for the Brookings area, but rural Brookings voters will have to decide whether to unseat their current state senator.
Brookings County includes two voting districts: Legislative District 7 encompasses the City of Brookings and Brookings and Medary townships; Legislative District 4 includes all remaining townships in Brookings County as well as Grant, Deuel and rural Codington counties.
The District 4 primary battle between two incumbent Republicans, Val Rausch of Big Stone City and Tim Begalka of Clear Lake, is drawing statewide attention.
Rausch is well known in Pierre, having served as Speaker of the House in the just-ended 2011-12 sessions. Rausch’s problem is that he has been term-limited out of a job. He has served four consecutive two-year terms, the maximum for any state legislator.
Consequently, he has decided to jump from one house to the other, but that leap pits him against a sitting state senator, Begalka.
The Clear Lake nurseryman is a Capitol veteran as well, having logged two terms in the House, from 2001 until 2004, when he chose not to seek a third term.
Begalka stepped back onto the political stage in 2010, running for and winning his first term in the state Senate.
There may be hard feelings between the two candidates: Begalka regards Rausch’s run as a betrayal by a fellow party member – he thought he had been promised there would be no opposition to his candidacy. And Rausch has been hammered by Begalka. The former House leader has been accused by Rep. Stace Nelson of ethics violations, and Begalka was among the most vocal senators supporting Nelson’s charges.
Both men are conservatives, but Rausch has won the endorsement of Gov. Dennis Daugaard in the Republican vs. Republican contest.
Regardless of who wins the Republican go-round, the race for the District 4 senate seat will get even more interesting this fall when the winner of the GOP primary will be on the ballot against another chamber-jumper, Steve Street. Street, who now claims Milbank as home, has been a member of the South Dakota House since 2005. Also term-limited there, the Democrat is now seeking to move to the Senate.
Street, who lists his occupation as farmer, had previously lived in the Revillo area.
Republicans will also get to cast a vote for their presidential choices, selecting a slate of delegates to represent the state at the national GOP convention, and they’ll choose a local precinct committeeman, either Pat Powers or Leon Pesall. All other party choices are uncontested and candidates for those offices will automatically appear on the November general election ballot.
For Democrats, the only choice will be Jeff Barth or Matt Varilek, both seeking the opportunity to run for the U.S. House of Representatives against Kristi Noem.
Balloting on Tuesday, June 5, will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sample ballots and voting instructions will be printed in The Brookings Register.)
Following are the Brookings County voting precincts for both legislative districts:
Brookings City (and Townships) - District 7
Precinct 1: Tompkins Alumni Center, 905 Medary Ave.
Precinct 2: First Lutheran Church, 337 Eighth St.
Precinct 3: Brookings City Hall, 311 Third Ave.
Precinct 4: Ascension Lutheran Church, 2030 Third St.
Precinct 5: Bethel Baptist Church, 714 17th Ave. S.
Precinct 6: United Church of Christ, 828 Eighth St. S.
Precinct 8: Medary Township – Faith Reformed Church, 1330 Main Ave. S.
Precinct 13: Brookings Township – American Legion Hall, 1229 Western Ave., Brookings
Brookings County –
Precinct 9: White Area – McKnight Hall, White (Afton, Argo, Oaklake, Sherman and Lake Hendricks townships, White City)
Precinct 10: Bruce Area – Bruce Community Room (Eureka, Oakwood, Preston and Sterling townships, Bruce Town)
Precinct 11: Aurora Area – Little Hall, Aurora (Alton, Aurora and Trenton townships, Aurora Town, Bushnell Town)
Precinct 12: Sinai Area – American Legion Hall, Sinai (Lake Sinai and Bangor townships, Sinai Town, Arlington City)
Precinct 14: Volga Area – Community Center, Volga (Oslo and Volga townships, Volga City)
Precinct 15: Laketon, Winsor Townships – Trinity Lutheran Church, 321 S. Main, Arlington
Precinct 16: Elkton Area – Community Center, Elkton (Elkton, Parnell and Richland townships, Elkton City)
Contact Ken Curley at kcurley@-brookingsregister.com.