S.D. Democrats tap former-Herseth Sandlin staffer for executive director role
PIERRE, S.D. — Months after a new president took the reigns of the South Dakota Democratic Party, a former staffer for former-U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is assuming the role as the party's executive director.
The SDDP announced in a Monday, Aug. 5 news release that Stacey Burnette will be taking over as executive director after Sam Parkinson in May left the role to work for the Association of State Democratic Committees.
Burnette is stepping into the role from a previous job as health systems manager of primary care for the American Cancer Society. She previously worked for Herseth Sandlin, a Democrat who represented South Dakota's at-large congressional district in the U.S. House from 2004 to 2011, when she was unseated by now-Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican.
Burnette said in Monday's release that the Mount Rushmore state has a "long history" of supporting Democratic candidates in local, state and congressional races, but "the last decade has obviously been tough for our party."
"It’s our mission to reintroduce the SDDP as a viable option to balance out the one-party rule that has left voters shaking their heads at politicians in Pierre and Washington," Burnette said.
She said that that the party is actively recruiting 2020 candidates for local and statewide offices, saying, "it's time for a change."
South Dakota's base of registered Democrats has hovered between 156,000 and 159,000 in the past year, coming in at 159,000 on the first of this month. In that same time period, the number of registered Republicans has grown steadily from 252,000 in Aug. 2018 to 261,000 this month.
Of the state's total 556,000 registered voters, 132,000 are registered Independent as of Aug. 1, according to the Secretary of State's Office.