Gant Will Leave South Dakota Secretary of State Post in 2014
South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says he won't seek a second term in office. Gant says he's looking forward to returning to the private sector at the end of his term, which runs through the end of 2014.
Gant says he has accomplished his goals, including creating an online corporate filing system and putting more open records online, increasing transparency in campaign finance and increasing access to the voting booth. He says his successor will inherit a government agency "that is at the forefront of technology."
Gant, a Republican, has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans since taking office in 2011. He says he's "far from perfect" but that he's always tried to do his best "and serve the people of South Dakota well."
There have been rumblings inside the Republican establishment for a while that Gant would face opposition for the nomination at their convention. Shantel Krebs recently positioned herself as a candidate. Krebs recently sent out a mailer to the effect last month which was posted on a blog from the Madville Times.
As Republicans, Ronald Reagan always said stay the course and never switch horses midstream. But sometimes that has to be done. The integrity of the Secretary of State's office has been damaged and much of the public have lost faith in it. I believe it's time for a change and I am considering the nomination for Secretary of State.
Also entering the fray is Zach Crago the interim Executive Director of the Democratic Party. His statement seems to swipe at Gant’s tenure and Krebs’s overt partisanship.
"South Dakota Republicans have overseen an unprecedented level of partisanship and voter suppression in the Secretary of State's office that indeed has badly damaged the integrity of the office and the public's trust in Republican leadership. Democrats and common sense Republicans alike believe it's time for a clean break.
"That's why I'm puzzled that Republican state senator Shantel Krebs expressed her interest in Gant's seat by talking up the importance of electing only Republicans to statewide office. Hasn't that kind of rank partisanship in the Secretary of State's office been part of the problem?
"In her announcement, Krebs said nothing about protecting South Dakotans' right to vote, nothing about reducing partisanship in the Secretary of State's office, and nothing about how she'll restore the public's faith in the office. In fact, she has said nothing about reversing any of Gant's mistakes that have tanked the public's opinion of his leadership in the first place.
"Maybe Republican leaders like Gant and Krebs just don't get it. This isn't just about partisan advantage. This is about preserving faith in our elections and protecting our fundamental right to vote. We need a Secretary of State who will put our democracy and fairness ahead of party politics. Right now, neither Gant nor Krebs seems to be the solution to restore integrity in the Secretary of State's office."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.