Why doesn’t Bernie get a mention?

Gee, what’s a guy to do when he retires as editor of South Dakota Magazine? And he’s only 61? Well, if you’re House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton, you continue as publisher of the 46,000-circulation monthly that you and your wife, Myrna, brought into the world in 1985. But with three major statewide offices up for election in 2014 — U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and governor — it seems like Bernie would be a natural to run for one of them. He made the try once before, in 1998, when he ran for governor as the Democratic candidate and received about 32.9 percent of the vote, while Republican incumbent Bill Janklow won the fourth and last of his terms with about 64 percent in a four-way race. Facing Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard or Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (assuming they both run for their current posts) would probably be just as difficult. Would it be any easier to tangle with Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds for the U.S. Senate seat from which Democrat Tim Johnson will retire? Bernie would seem to be the Democrats’ strongest possible candidate these days. He’s a genuine success in business, and he’s serving his eleventh year in the Legislature. Yet all the focus has been on a few other Democrats so far. If he doesn’t run, it’s understandable — he’s made that battle once before, and he took some bruises. But if he does run, with 15 more years of experience and knowledge now under his belt, don’t be surprised.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Why doesn’t Bernie get a mention?

  1. beenthere

    Bernie’s a genuinely nice guy. Even though I’m a Repub, I would consider voting for him for Gov. since the powers-that-be have been in power in Pierre for way too long and it shows !

  2. Pierrely Conservative

    I am a registered Repub and I think Bernie is a great guy and would have voted for him instantly, but I am disappointed in his efforts on the last minute omnibus bill, which I find very shady. However, I would consider voting for Bernie as I have been ghastly disappointed in Gov. Daugaard.

    Reasons I won’t vote for Daugaard again:
    1. Disrespect for SD voters (comments made to KELO, railroading the legislature on SB235 and ignoring the wishes of SD voters in the last election)
    2. Lack of new ideas and policies (“most” of Daugaard’s policies are a continuation of the Rounds administration, while Daugaard has made changes, I believe more could be done.

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