South Dakota Democratic Party Chairmanship May Turn on Abortion Stand
The race for South Dakota Democratic Party Chair may turn on where the two candidates stand on abortion.
Party officials meet Saturday in Oacoma to select a new chair to replace Deb Knecht of Houghton, who is stepping down.
Announced candidates for the chairmanship are Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth of Sioux Falls and retired teacher and former Sioux Falls Education Association president Ann Tornberg of Beresford.
Pro-Barth party activists point out that in Tornberg’s unsuccessful 2014 run for the District 16 state Senate race, she called herself 'pro-life' as well as note her ties to other pro-life groups and legislators. The activists say the Democrats at the 2014 state convention adopted a pro-choice platform and that Barth is pro-choice.
In its 2014 online voters’ guide, South Dakota Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, Tornberg is quoted, “I am pro-life and pro-child.” The National Abortion Rights Action League’s 2014 voter guide rated her as “anti-choice.”
2014 was a bad year for the state Democratic Party, with losses in the state Legislature and no statewide candidates elected to state or national office. However, A Democratic Party-backed initiated measure increasing the state’s minimum wage did pass.