Billie Harmon Sutton (born March 16, 1984) is an American former professional bronc rider and politician. He was a member of the South Dakota Senate from 2011 to 2019, served as Minority Leader, and was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota.[1]

Billie Sutton
Billie Sutton Headshot (cropped).jpg
Minority Leader of the South Dakota Senate
In office
January 5, 2015 – January 8, 2019
Preceded byJason Frerichs
Succeeded byTroy Heinert
Member of the South Dakota Senate
from the 21st district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 8, 2019
Preceded byJulie Bartling
Succeeded byRocky Blare
Personal details
Born
Billie Harmon Sutton

(1984-03-16) March 16, 1984 (age 35)
Burke, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kelsea
Children1
EducationUniversity of Wyoming (BA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Contents

Early life, education, and rodeo accidentEdit

A fifth-generation South Dakotan, Sutton grew up in Burke, South Dakota, on his family ranch, where his interest in rodeo began. Sutton went to college at the University of Wyoming and became a successful rider as the university's all-time leader in rodeo points. He graduated in May 2008 with a degree in finance.[2]

Sutton competed professionally on the PRCA circuit, reaching a top 30 worldwide ranking.[3] In 2007, Sutton was paralyzed from the waist down when his horse flipped upside down in the chute prior to a bronc ride at a rodeo in Minot, North Dakota.[4] He was 23 years old at the time of the accident.

After the accident and completion of his college degree, Sutton returned to Burke to work as an investment consultant at a bank.[5]

Political careerEdit

In 2010, Sutton was elected to the South Dakota Senate, representing District 21. He served as Senate Assistant Minority Leader from 2013 to 2015. He was succeeded in this position by Troy Heinert from District 26. Sutton currently serves as South Dakota Senate Minority Leader.[6]

In May 2017, Sutton announced his candidacy for Governor of South Dakota in 2018 at his family ranch in Burke, SD.[7] Michelle Lavallee of Sioux Falls, a former Republican, was the Lieutenant Governor candidate on Sutton's ticket.[8]

EndorsementsEdit

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and Rapid City Journal endorsed Sutton for South Dakota Governor in 2018.[9][10] Sutton was also endorsed by a number of prominent Republicans, including former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, former State Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudson, former State Treasurer Dave Volk, former Mayor of Sioux Falls Rick Knobe, and current Lincoln County Commissioner Jim Schmidt, among others.[11][12][13]

Political viewsEdit

Sutton is a "pro-life and pro-Second Amendment" moderate Democrat with an anti-corruption focus.[14][15]

Personal lifeEdit

While the accident ended Sutton's rodeo career, it did not quell his love of horse riding, an activity he still enjoys alongside his wife Kelsea.[16] Sutton and his wife have one son, Liam.[17]

Electoral historyEdit

Year Office Result
2016 State Senate Sutton was unopposed in the Democratic Primary and in the general election.[18]
2014 State Senate Sutton was unopposed in the Democratic Primary and in the general election.
2012 State Senate Sutton was unopposed in the Democratic Primary and defeated John S. Meyer (R) in the general election with 5723 votes (59.46%) to Meyer's 3902 (40.54%).[19]
2010 State Senate Sutton defeated John S. Meyer (R) in the general election with 4167 votes (57.78%) to Meyer's 3045 (42.22%).[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.sdlegislature.gov/legislators/historical_listing/LegislatorDetail.aspx?MemberID=3843
  2. ^ Press, The Associated. "Sutton, upbeat, returns to UW classes". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  3. ^ "Meet Billie". Sutton for South Dakota Governor. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  4. ^ Montgomery, David (14 July 2013). "Cowboy's dreams standing tall". Argus Leader. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  5. ^ "From the archives: Billie Sutton, state senator and working cowboy". Argus Leader. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  6. ^ "2016 Session - Senator Billie H. Sutton". sdlegislature.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  7. ^ "Democrats, Sutton enter South Dakota governor race". Argus Leader. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  8. ^ "Meet Michelle Lavallee". Billie Sutton for South Dakota Governor. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  9. ^ "Editorial: Billie Sutton makes sense for South Dakota". Argus Leader. October 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "OURS: Journal endorses Sutton for governor". Rapid City Journal. October 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Mearhoff, Sarah (October 25, 2018). "SD bombshell: Poll shows governor's race dead heat in deep red state". The Globe. The Globe.
  12. ^ "Sutton Picks Up Republican Endorsements". KDLT. KDLT. October 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Mercer, Bob (October 30, 2018). "Election Analysis: Democrats Seeking Republican Votes". KELO. Nexstar Media Group.
  14. ^ Nord, James (August 20, 2018). "Cowboy turned lawmaker hopes to be South Dakota governor". Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  15. ^ "A South Dakota Election Takes an Unusual Shift Toward Democrats". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  16. ^ "From the archives: Billie Sutton, state senator and working cowboy". Argus Leader. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  17. ^ Healy, Jack (2018-10-21). "Democrats Lost Rural America. This Former Rodeo Star Thinks He Can Win It Back". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  18. ^ "2016 Election Candidate List". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  19. ^ "Secretary of State - State Legislative Races".
  20. ^ "Election Resources: South Dakota Secretary of State, Shantel Krebs". sdsos.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-16.

External linksEdit

South Dakota Senate
Preceded by
Jason Frerichs
Minority Leader of the South Dakota Senate
2015–2019
Succeeded by
Troy Heinert
Party political offices
Preceded by
Susan Wismer
Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota
2018
Most recent