Last week, South Dakota voters in the 15th state legislative district elected Jenna Haggar to the House. She is a registered independent, and is only 24 years old. She defeated an incumbent Democratic state representative. Each South Dakota legislative district elects two house members, every two years. In the 15th district in 2010, there were no Republicans running, just two Democrats and one independent.
Haggar is the first independent elected to the South Dakota house since 1994, although South Dakota voters had elected an independent to the State Senate in 2008. However, the State Senate independent elected in 2008, Tom Dempster, was actually a registered Republican who had accidentally failed to qualify for his party’s primary ballot, so he had then petitioned as an independent.