Will Huether Run for Governor? - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Will Huether Run for Governor?

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 Just eight hours ago, Mike Huether was sworn in to begin his second and last term as Sioux Falls' mayor.
 But politically, what happens next for Mike Huether?
 It's the question a lot of political watchers are already asking: the speculation has already started.
 In four years, will Huether run for governor?
 I sat down with the mayor and asked him about his future political plans. 
 Mayor Huether was a bit hesitant when i brought up the subject of his political future..."I have not even been sworn in for my second term yet."
 He also made clear that he is focused on his job as mayor. "If there weren't term limits I would tell you I would love to be the mayor of Sioux Falls for as long as God would keep me here on Earth."
 But then he told me a story of a woman who recently stopped him at Minerva's restaurant downtown...urging him to continue in politics once his term as mayor is done. "And of course she talked about....you know....there are some other things you should do mayor. And...how do you not think about that stuff."
 What would that future political office be?
 Huether's supporters...and his detractors...both theorize that Huether has his eye on the governor's office.
 Political analyst Bob Burns tells me, he's thinking the same thing. "I see that he would have a future with statewide office here in South Dakota. The governors position being the most likely."
 The mayor's office in Sioux Falls is non-partisan. 
 But Huether is a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state. "The Democratic Party doesn't have a great deal of bench strength right now in South Dakota. Simply meaning that they don't have very many individuals that have much statewide visibility."
 Burns says right now, Huether may be the most visible Democrat in the state and would stand a very good chance of winning the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018."The rewards you get from public service...it is a drug like no other."
 Huether tells me he likes the process of governing...of making things happen.
 But in the next breath, he tells me his job isn't so much about politics as it is the personal connection he wants to have with the city of Sioux Falls and its residents...a connection that sometimes...doesn't happen. "The reality is, no matter what I do, no matter how I act, no matter what I say, there's gonna be at least 4 out of 10 that will go "don't like the guy, don't trust the guy, and absolutely don't want him to lead my city of my state."
 "It is his way or..theres nobody else's way." Sioux Falls voter Dave Lewis says he believes Huether has done good things for the city and specifically applauds his response to last year's ice storm. But then adds..."I don't know if the state...if he ran for a state office...if the rest of the state would be as enamored with him as some of our voters in Sioux Falls."
 Huether knows people criticize him for being intense. "That's called leadership. That's called getting things done. It's called making a difference. And that is what I was elected to do."
 And the mayor says....he's not going to apologize for his intensity. "And guess what? I am not changing. I am not changing."
 Voter Penne Dean says if Huether wants to run for governor in four years, he should. "Personally I think if he has ambitions in that way then he should pursue them."
 And voter Jarid Kvale is non-committal but says he definitely wants to know more. "Generally liked Huether. Without knowing what he was going to do, I would be interested in hearing his thoughts on a statewide office but certainly not opposed to it."
 "This executive branch of government, suits me. This community...and its a constructive, progressive, confident in nature...it suits me." 
 Bob burns says Huether running for governor would make sense, as it would take him from one executive branch of government to another.
 But when I tried to pin Huether down on if he intends to run for governor in four years...he told me...he wants to get through his final term as mayor...first. "And then after that, we will figure it out."
 But here's another point political analyst Bob Burns brought up..and it's tough to ignore.
 The last time South Dakotans elected a Democrat to the governor's office was Dick Kneip....in 1974.
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