The Economist: “The Democratic brand is often toxic in rural America, where it is seen as a party of coastal elites. But Western voters seem willing to pull the lever for the right kind of Democratic candidate.”
In South Dakota, where “Republicans hold overwhelming majorities in both of the state legislative chambers; and Donald Trump won nearly twice as many votes as Hillary Clinton in 2016,” the Democrats are running “country politician” and former rodeo champion Billie Sutton for governor.
Sutton, who was “was paralysed from the waist down” in a rodeo accident, identifies “The main divide in South Dakota politics” as “not between Democrats and Republicans but between urban and rural regions.”
In the general election Mr Sutton will probably face either Kristi Noem—who has spent the last seven years in Washington as the state’s sole House of Representatives member—or Marty Jackley, who has spent nearly a decade as the state’s attorney general.
For obvious reasons, these are Sutton’s “dream opponents.”
Mr Sutton is a pro-life, pro-gun, church-going Democrat, just as Heidi Heitkamp—a Democratic senator from North Dakota—supports fracking and the Keystone oil pipeline. They are less prairie populists than prairie pragmatists, focused on kitchen-table issues and connecting to individual voters rather than joining the partisan vanguard.
Source: “A Democrat With A Chance In South Dakota.”