The District 17 state Senate race ended in a narrow margin Tuesday night.
Democrat Tom Jones was elected to the South Dakota Senate against Republican opponent John Chicoine, with the final count going to Jones 52 percent to 47 percent.
Jones said he is looking forward to getting started in the state legislature.
“We’re going to continue to try to get more parity in the state government,” Jones said. “The Democrats have always been such a minority (in South Dakota).”
University of South Dakota sophomore Rachelle Norberg was Jones’ campaign
“I worked for Jones’ campaign and we went door to door in every town in District 17,” Norberg said. “I’m really glad that he won. He (has already) served a great two years in the House, and he will serve a great term in the Senate.”
She also said having another Democrat in the legislature will help to bring more Democratic ideas to the Senate floor.
“The Senate has always been really one sided, and it will help get more conversation in the legislature,” Norberg said.
Student Government Association President Alissa VanMeeteren, who is also a member of the College Republicans, said Jones could be beneficial to USD students.
“So long as he can represent the district effectively, he will be an asset to the community and the students,” VanMeeteren said.
She said she wasn’t surprised a Democrat won the race.
“Republicans from districts that house (institutes of) higher education often find themselves in a more challenging situation,” VanMeeteren said.
Students who weren’t familiar with the races themselves were generally glad a Democrat was headed to the
“In all honesty, I don’t know much about the candidates here in South Dakota,” junior Lena Tran said. “There should be more Democrats involved in the state legislature because they will bring more ideas to the floor than there are right now.”
Jones said the race came down to where each candidate stood on each issue.
“The race was a close one, but the people spoke loud on the issues,” Jones said.
In an earlier interview, Jones said going forward, the state needs to start loosening its purse strings, and investing more in worthy projects. On election night, he reaffirmed this view.
Chicoine said he was disappointed with the outcome.
“I was really looking forward to this,” Chicoine said. “I had a lot of things I wanted to implement and try.”