South Dakota's At-large congressional district: Wikis


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South Dakota's At-large congressional district
Current Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D)
Population (2000) 754,854
Median income $35,282
Ethnicity 88.7% White, 0.6% Black, 0.6% Asian, 1.4% Hispanic, 8.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVI R+9

The South Dakota at-large congressional district covers the entire state of South Dakota. It was created in 1982, after South Dakota lost its 2nd District. From 1889 to 1913, it existed with two representatives elected statewide at-large.

It is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. It is the largest congressional district represented by a Democrat.


Seats added and removed

When South Dakota was admitted to the Union in 1889, it was allocated two congressional seats, both of which were filled from the state at-large. This continued until South Dakota received a third congressional seat after the 1910 U.S. Census and individual districts were established.

From 1913 to 1933, South Dakota had three seats. In 1933, one seat was eliminated. In 1983, the second seat was also eliminated, leaving South Dakota with one seat which was again elected at-large.


Two seats were created in 1889. They were changed into three districts in 1913. One at-large seat remained after 1983.


1889 – 1913: Two seats

1st seat

Representative Party Years Congress Notes
John A. Pickler Republican November 2, 1889 – March 3, 1897 51
John Edward Kelley Populist March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1899 55 Lost re-election
Charles H. Burke Republican March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1907 56
Lost renomination
Philo Hall Republican March 4, 1907 – March 3, 1909 60 Lost renomination
Charles H. Burke Republican March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1913 61
Redistricted to the 1st district

2nd seat

Representative Party Years Congress District home Notes
Oscar S. Gifford Republican November 2, 1889 – March 3, 1891 51 Canton Was Dakota Territory's territorial delegate; Lost renomination
John Rankin Gamble Republican March 4, 1891 – August 14, 1891 52 Yankton Died
Vacant August 14, 1891 – December 7, 1891
John L. Jolley Republican December 7, 1891 – March 3, 1893 Vermillion Retired
William V. Lucas Republican March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1895 53 Hot Springs Lost renomination
Robert J. Gamble Republican March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1897 54 Yankton Lost re-election
Freeman T. Knowles Populist March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1899 55 Deadwood
Robert J. Gamble Republican March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1901 56 Yankton Elected to U.S. Senate
Eben W. Martin Republican March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1907 57
Hot Springs Retired to run for U.S. Senate
William H. Parker Republican March 4, 1907 – June 26, 1908


Deadwood Died
Vacant June 26, 1908 – November 3, 1908
Eben W. Martin Republican November 3, 1908 – March 3, 1913 Hot Springs Redistricted to the 2nd district

1913 – 1983: Three, then two, districts

In 1913, the two at-large seats were replaced by three districts. There were no at-large seats, therefore, until 1983.

1983 – present: One seat

By 1983, the remaining remaining two district seats were reduced to one at-large seat.

Representative Party Years Congress District home Notes
Tom Daschle Democratic January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1987 98
Aberdeen Redistricted from the 1st district
Elected U.S. Senator
Tim Johnson Democratic January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1997 101
Elected U.S. Senator
John R. Thune Republican January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003 105
Elected U.S. Senator
Bill Janklow Republican January 3, 2003 – January 20, 2004


Resigned when convicted of vehicular manslaughter
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Democratic June 3, 2004 – present Incumbent

Recent Elections

2004 Special Election

Incumbent U.S. Representative Bill Janklow resigned the seat January 20, 2004, after he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, triggering a special election. Democrat Stephanie Herseth was selected as the Democratic nominee for this special election and she defeated Republican Larry Diedrich with 51 percent of the vote in a close-fought election on June 1, 2004. Herseth's victory briefly gave the state its first all-Democratic congressional delegation since 1937.

2004 General Election

In the November general election, Herseth was elected to a full term with 53.4 percent of the vote, an increase of a few percentage points compared with the even closer June special elections. Herseth's vote margin in June was about 3,000 votes, but by November it had grown to over 29,000.

Herseth thereby became the first woman in state history to win a full term in the U.S. Congress.

Both elections were hard-fought and close compared to many House races in the rest of the United States, and the special election was watched closely by a national audience. The general election was also viewed as one of the most competitive in the country, but was overshadowed in the state by the highly competitive U.S. Senate race between Democrat Tom Daschle and Republican John Thune, which Thune narrowly won.

2008 Presidential Primary Results

Republican Primary

U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona easily won the June 3, 2008 South Dakota GOP Primary with 70.19% of the statewide/at-large congressional district vote while libertarian-leaning U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas finished in second place in the state/congressional district with 16.52%.

Democratic Primary

Then-U.S. Senator and now U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York won the June 3, 2008 South Dakota Democratic Primary with 55.35% of the statewide/at-large congressional district vote while then-U.S. Senator and now President Barack Obama of Illinois received 44.65%. The state/at-large congressional district gave Clinton her final win during the course of the historic and heavily drawn-out 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary season.

External links


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