Thursday, January 6, 2011

Secretary of State Jason Gant takes oath

Secretary of State Jason Gant takes oath of office early

AP • JANUARY 5, 2011

    PIERRE — Republican Jason Gant is already at work as South Dakota’s new secretary of state.
    He was sworn in Sunday, nearly a week ahead of the swearing-in for the governor and other constitutional officers.
    Gant was elected secretary of state in November. He replaces Chris Nelson, who was term limited and is Gov.-elect Dennis Daugaard’s choice to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Public Utilities Commission.
    Gant told KCCR radio he wanted to get to work early to prepare for the legislative session.
    He plans to take the oath of office again Saturday at inaugural ceremonies.

Friday, November 26, 2010

News : Two staffers to leave Secretary of State’s office - Capital Journal Pierre, SD newspaper since 1881

News : Two staffers to leave Secretary of State’s office - Capital Journal Pierre, SD newspaper since 1881

Two staffers to leave Secretary of State’s office

By Bob Mercer
Published/Last Modified on Thursday, Nov 25, 2010 - 06:05:31 am CST

PIERRE — Two top members of Secretary of State Chris Nelson’s staff won’t be staying when his successor takes office in January.

Deputy secretary Teresa Bray and state elections supervisor Kea Warne said Wednesday they have informed Secretary of State-elect Jason Gant about their plans to leave.

Gant won the Republican nomination in a convention battle against Bray and state Rep. Tom Deadrick of Platte last summer. He won a three-way race in the general election Nov. 2.

Nelson, a Republican, couldn’t see a third consecutive term because of the limitation set in the South Dakota constitution.

“When I met with Secretary-elect Gant two weeks ago, I informed him that I would be moving on at the end of the year,” Bray said.

“It has truly been an honor to serve alongside Secretary Nelson as his deputy secretary of state. It is an experience that I will cherish always,” she said.

Warne has worked in the office for more than 17 years, including the past eight-plus years as elections supervisor, the position previously held by Nelson.

She said she was asked to stay under Gant but decided to resign effective Dec. 31. She submitted a resume to the transition office of Gov.-elect Dennis Daugaard.

During her time as election supervisor the office implemented the federal Help America Vote Act and federal reforms for overseas and military voters.

They also developed the statewide voter file, the Internet-based central election-result reporting system, the electronic voter registration cancellation program and driver license voter registration.

“I feel my career has reached its height at this office and I look forward to new challenges and new opportunities elsewhere,” Warne said in her resignation letter.

The next step for Nelson will be an appointment by Gov.-elect Daugaard to fill a vacancy on the state Public Utilities Commission when Dusty Johnson resigns to become chief of staff for the new governor on Jan. 8.

Johnson won re-election to a six-year term Nov. 2. Nelson’s appointment would cover the first two years. The remaining four years will be subject to election in 2012. Nelson plans to run.

Gant, a state senator from Sioux Falls, said he plans to reorganize the secretary of state office into three divisions — elections, business services and operations — and will name a director for each.

“I have not finalized who each of the directors will be at this time. My goal is to have the directors named very shortly,” he said.

Gant said he doesn’t plan to have a deputy. He said he intends to start work as secretary of state on Jan. 3, five days before most state elected officials take their oaths of office during the inauguration ceremonies in the Capitol rotunda.

“I want to hit the ground running and start preparing for the legislative session. I have a number of pieces of legislation that I need to have ready for when session starts, as well as taking a very hard look at the budget for the office in preparation for the (Legislature’s) appropriations committee,” Gant said.

The 2011 session of the Legislature opens Jan. 11 and is scheduled to conclude its run of 38 working days on March 28.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jason Gant elected SD Secretary of State

Election Results

November 2, 2010

Jason Gant (R) 163,826 54.17%
Ben Nesselhuf (D) 118,623 39.22%
Lori Stacey (C) 19,968 6.60%

Jason Gant wins three-way contest

Jason Gant wins three-way contest

Sioux Falls legislator pledges transparency in campaign finances


    Republican Sen. Jason Gant was elected Tuesday as secretary of state.
    Gant defeated state Sen. Ben Nesselhuf, D-Vermillion, and Lori Stacey of the Constitution Party.
    Gant, 33, will succeed Chris Nelson, who could not run for re-election because of term limits.
    Gant attributes the win to his hard work, and visiting every county in the state.
    "We always made it a family adventure," he said. "It's a wonderful win tonight. We campaigned on the issues of making sure our elections were safe and secure. And South Dakotans definitely agreed."
    Gant said he plans to be proactive in making it easier for people to vote and register to vote. He promised to make sure ballots are counted and completed legally and run elections efficiently.
    As secretary of state, Gant plans to make campaign finance records more transparent and make it easier for the public to search online to find who contributed to a campaign, how much money was donated, and how that money was spent.
    Gant has served as a state senator since 2005, and serves on the commerce, health and human service and government committees. He also owns a health care consulting business.
    Lucas Lentsch, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, said Gant's experience in the state Senate will serve him well.
    "He's going to be an excellent advocate for South Dakota free and fair elections," Lentsch said. "Jason Gant knew the issues he was running on and stuck firm on those issues. That resonated with the voters of South Dakota."
    Nesselhuf, 35, called it a tough year for Democrats. He said he has no immediate plans, and he didn't ever think of the possibility of not winning.
    "We ran a race that I'm so proud of, we worked so hard across the board," Nesselhuf said. "We maybe picked the worst year in my adult life to run as a Democrat."
    Gant lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Chris and three children - Abbi, Sophie and Mallory. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in political science.
    Nesselhuf served as a state representative from 2001 to 2004 and as a state senator from 2005 to the present.
    Stacey, 46, could not be reached for comment. She had hoped, if elected, to return to hand-counting paper ballots and make it easier for third-party candidates to appear on the ballot.

Read it all here.

Gant Elected SD Secretary Of State


Published: November 2, 2010, 10:20 PM

SIOUX FALLS, SD - South Dakota voters have elected another Republican as secretary of state.

Jason Gant defeated Democrat Ben Nesselhuf and third-party candidate Lori Stacey in Tuesday's election. Gant is from Sioux Falls and has served three terms in the state senate.

The secretary of state's office supervises elections and handles corporate business filings. The incumbent, Chris Nelson, is term limited.

A Democrat last held the office in the 1970s.

2010 Associated Press

Read it all here.

GOP maintains domination on state constitutional offices

Rapid City Journal

Kevin Woster Journal staff | Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 11:45 pm

All Republican going in, all Republican coming out.

That was the general election story Tuesday for South Dakota's six constitutional office races.

Public Utilities Commission Chairman Dusty Johnson led a Republican sweep of the often-overlooked constitutional office races -- including the PUC, secretary of state, attorney general, treasure, auditor and school and public lands commissioner.

With 661 of 791 precincts reporting statewide Tuesday night, the first-term PUC commissioner had an overwhelming lead over Jefferson businessman Doyle Karpen -- 74 percent to 26 percent. Johnson said he believed voters responded to his commitment to his job and performance during his first six-year term.

"I think they appreciate that six years after I was elected, I'm still out busting my butt every day trying to do to make my little corner of the world better," Johnson said.

He praised Karpen for running an issue-oriented race and said it was important to have opposition.

"The bottom line is, when politicians have to go out on a campaign and participate in a statewide job interview, it's good for the process," Johnson said.

At the same point in the vote count, Republicans led in other races by comfortable margins, as well.

In the race for secretary of state, Republican state Sen. Jason Gant led Democratic state Sen. Ben Nesselhuf 55 percent to 39 percent, with Constitution Party candidate Lori Stacey in third with 6 percent.

Gant said he believed his focus on protecting the integrity of the state voting system was important to voters.

"It was the issues, talking about voter fraud and concerns about our elections, and making sure we run our elections fair and legal," Gant said. "I think that message resonated with South Dakotans, and I'm going to stick with it."

Attorney General Marty Jackley, a former U.S. attorney appointed to the attorney general's job when Larry Long became a judge, led former state legislator Ron Volesky 67 percent to 33 percent. Jackley said voters complimented him on state involvement in multi-state legal actions to protect states from federal intrusion on health care and gun and ammunition regulations, as well as a suit on Black Hills forest management.

"I've learned a lot about what people want in this campaign. I intend to use it to be a better attorney general," he said.

In the treasurer's race, Republican state Auditor Rich Sattgast led Democrat Tom Katus, a former state senator from Rapid City, 66 percent to 34 percent. Republican Steve Barnett led Democrat Julie Bartling 61 percent to 39 percent in the auditor's race. And Republican Jarrod Johnson led Democrat Bob Pille 67 percent to 33 percent in the School and Public Lands commissioner's race.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or

Read it all here.