Nelson argued ‘experience matters’ in PUC, voters agreed

By: - November 8, 2022 10:06 pm

Commissioner Chris Nelson is set to serve another six years on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, a seat he was first appointed to in 2011.

The Public Utilities Commission regulates and authorizes utility companies and projects in the state.

“I would say to my worthy (Democratic) opponent Jeff Barth, who is a chess player – checkmate,” Nelson said.

Nelson leads Barth with 71% of the vote and 230 precincts fully counted.

Barth hung his campaign hopes on his opposition to the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline that would carry carbon dioxide across the state for sequestration. Barth’s slogan, a nod to landowners opposed to the project, was “no eminent domain for private gain.”

Barth said the standings illustrate that many South Dakotans are “sheepish.”

“South Dakotans are standing in their own way,” Barth said. 

PUC Chris Nelson was appointed in 2011 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacancy on the commission. He was then elected by South Dakota voters in 2012 and 2016.

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Joshua Haiar
Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar is a reporter based in Sioux Falls. Born and raised in Mitchell, he joined the Navy as a public affairs specialist after high school and then earned a degree from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining South Dakota Searchlight, Joshua worked for five years as a multimedia specialist and journalist with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.