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Paula Hawks elected chair of S.D. Democratic party

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Former state legislator and U.S. House candidate Paula Hawks has been elected chair of the South Dakota Democratic party.

The party announced in a Saturday, March 23 news release that Hawks will replace current chair Ann Tornberg come May. Tornberg served in the role for four years.

Hawks previously served as state representative for District 9, located in Minnehaha County, from 2012 to 2016. Hawks ran for South Dakota's lone U.S. House seat against then-incumbent U.S. Rep., now-Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican. Noem won reelection with 64 percent of the vote.

In Saturday's release, Hawks said she plans to work with the state Democratic party "to elect Democrats up and down the ticket next year."

"2020 has the potential to be a great year for Democrats, and I can promise that the staff and I will work hard every day to win back the U.S. Senate and House seats that are up for election, to break the GOP's supermajority in Pierre, and turn South Dakota blue for the Democratic nominee for President," she said.

The party also elected Randy Seiler vice-chair, Bill Nibbelink as treasurer and Lorri May as secretary. They, along with Hawks, will assume their positions May 1.