Chris Nelson endorses Shantel Krebs

South Dakota’s previous secretary of state, Chris Nelson, put his name on the line today (Tuesday) by announcing his support for Shantel Krebs, who is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state this year.

The background is complicated.

Krebs, a state senator from Renner, declared her candidacy last summer.

In the past month the current deputy secretary of state, Patricia Miller, announced that she would run for the Republican nomination too. Miller works for Secretary of State Jason Gant.

Gant decided after Krebs’ announcement last year that he wouldn’t seek re-election to a second term in 2014. He has since sold his house in Pierre and returned to Sioux Falls with his family.

Gant hired Miller as his deputy in 2012 after his previous top aide, Pat Powers, resigned.

The activities of Powers in running a campaign advisory business while serving as Gant’s No. 2, as well as other actions involving Gant’s administration of the office, came under investigation by state Attorney General Marty Jackley in 2012.

The attorney general decided there wasn’t any criminal wrong-doing. The investigation was requested by then-Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City.

At the time he brought Miller aboard as deputy, Gant also temporarily hired Sue Roust, a Democratic former auditor for Minnehaha County, to oversee the 2012 general election for his office. Roust returned to retirement after the election cycle was complete.

Chris Nelson was secretary of state for two four-year terms and couldn’t seek re-election to a third consecutive term in 2010 under the South Dakota constitution’s term-limit provision.

Prior to his first election in 2002, Nelson was state elections supervisor under then-Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine.

Hazeltine recently endorsed Miller for the nomination.

Nelson ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives and placed second behind now-U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem in a three-candidate primary in June 2010.

Nelson’s then-deputy, Teresa Bray, and former House Speaker Tom Deadrick lost to Gant for the Republican nomination for secretary of state at the 2010 Republican state convention later that summer. Gant, who was a state senator, won the general election for secretary of state over a Democratic state senator, Ben Nesselhuf.

Nelson subsequently was appointed to the state Public Utilities Commission in January 2011 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, when Dusty Johnson declined to serve the second term to which he was elected in 2010.

Johnson accepted the position of chief of staff for the new governor after serving on his transition team in November and December of 2010.

Nelson won election to the remaining four years of the six-year PUC term in 2012.

Patricia Miller is the wife of former Gov. Walter Dale Miller. She was divorced and he was widowed when they married in 1993 after he became governor.

Walter Dale Miller was serving as lieutenant governor when the state plane crash killed eight men including Gov. George S. Mickelson on April 19, 1993. As lieutenant governor Walter Dale Miller succeeded Mickelson. Walter Dale Miller lost in the June 1994 Republican primary for governor to former Gov. Bill Janklow.

Patricia Miller ran for the Republican nomination for state auditor in 2010. State convention participants chose Steve Barnett for the nomination. Barnett was elected to the office in November.

Krebs served six years in the state House of Representatives, starting in 2005, and has been in the Senate the past four years.

This entry was posted in SD Government on by .

About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

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