Max Sandlin campaigns in Noem’s back yard

Max Sandlin is an old hand at campaigning.

While he’s now identified as the husband of South Dakota’s congresswoman, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, he served four terms in the House representing Texas House District 1.

On Monday, Sandlin, 58, was back on the campaign trail — and he was seeking votes in Kristi Noem’s home county. Sandlin made several campaign stops in Hamlin County. He shook hands and met with voters in Estelline, Bryant and Lake Norden, all located in the northeast South Dakota county.

Noem, a state representative and the Republican candidate for the state’s lone House seat, is originally from Hazel and now lives in Castlewood, both also located in Hamlin County. Sandlin didn’t stop in those towns.

Hamlin County has long Republican roots. It was named for Hannibal Hamlin, who was the first vice president of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.

Bryant, one of the places where Sandlin met with voters, was once the home of Karl Mundt, the longest-serving congressman in South Dakota history. Mundt and his wife Mary taught school at Bryant High School and he also served as superintendent of the school district.

The Bryant School District no longer exists; it was merged with other local schools to form the Hamlin School District. That’s the school that Noem graduated from in 1990.

Sandlin also made stops in nearby Lake Preston in Kingsbury County and in Arlington, which is located mostly in Kingsbury County. A small piece of the town is in Brookings County. Sandlin and Herseth Sandlin now live in Brookings.

Sandlin will continue to hit the road in the closing days of the campaign, according to Betsy Hart, Herseth Sandlin’s deputy campaign manager.

Another veteran Democratic politician who is related to Herseth Sandlin will also be on the road shaking hands and making the case for the incumbent, Hart said. Lars Herseth, the candidate’s father, will hit the trail. Herseth is a former longtime legislator who was the 1986 Democratic candidate for governor.

His father Ralph Herseth served on term as governor, from 1959-60, and his mother Lorna was secretary of state from 1973-1979. Both Ralph and Lorna Herseth have passed away.

Three Democrats who are very much alive are playing a reduced role in the Herseth Sandlin campaign: George McGovern, Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson.

Neither McGovern nor Daschle has made an appearance with the congresswoman and Johnson has so far just appeared at an event in Aberdeen, according to Hart.

The two former senators and the state’s senior senator are all very much identified as Democrats, while Herseth Sandlin is reluctant to use that word. It only appears once on her campaign website: In describing her father as the 1986 Democratic candidate for governor.

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