Allow us to introduce you to Rep. Frank Kloucek (D-Scotland).
If you live in Douglas, Hutchinson, Bon Homme, or the northwest part of Turner counties, he probably needs no introduction. But here goes…
Frank Kloucek has served district 19 for nearly two decades for a reason: he is a champion of his constituents. He works hard, listens to his constituents concerns, and addresses their needs in the state legislature. His constituents don’t care that there’s a “D” behind his name because he stands up for them, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or Independents.
To be sure, Frank’s success irks South Dakota’s Republican leadership. He keeps winning his district despite the fact that it has over two times as many Republicans as Democrats.
So how do you unseat a good candidate serving a district that Republicans should but can’t win?
Put him in another district!
It’s hard to look at such maneuvering and suspect anything other than intentional gerrymandering.
In one of the more egregious acts of gerrymandering Republicans could muster, the main Republican proposal split Bon Homme County with a mere sliver along the southern border so that the eastern half of Bon Homme where Frank lives would connect to district 21 to the west.
Of course, Frank’s constituents lose the most.
Either they lose a hard-working legislator who has served them well or they are forced into a new district with concerns that are very disimilar to their own communities’ concerns.
In particular, Bon Homme county, which could depend fully on the attention of its home legislator, would now become a smaller part of other legislators’ agenda, diluting the county’s representation in the state legislature.
Thankfully, Democrats successfully amended the redistricting map to keep Frank in district 19 with Hanson and McCook counties joining the district; however, Bon Homme county remains split, hurting its power in the state legislature.
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