RAPID CITY — The Libertarian Party of South Dakota chose its leadership for the next two years at its annual convention, held Saturday, June 15, in Rapid City.
Leading the party will be Gideon Oakes, a marketing professional and real estate agent from Keystone.
Oakes ran unsuccessfully for District 30 state senator in 2018 but secured the highest vote percentage of any Libertarian state senate candidate in a three-way race in the United States during the last election cycle, according to a post on his campaign’s official Facebook page.
Greg Baldwin, a certified medical coder from Wakonda, was selected as vice-chairman. Baldwin was a candidate for District 17 state representative in 2018.
Daryl Root, a small-business owner from Clear Lake, will reprise his role as the party’s treasurer. Root also ran for District 4 state representative in 2018.
Others selected to serve in leadership roles include Ashley Strand, Rapid City, secretary; Devin Saxon, Lennox, communication director; Kent Wilsey, Owanka, at-large member; Tara Volesky, Mitchell, at-large member; and Garrid Baldwin, Aberdeen, at-large member.
"On behalf of the rest of the leadership team, we’re looking forward to serving our membership with diligence, enthusiasm and transparency," Oakes said in a released statement. "We’re certainly a minority party, but we’re growing steadily. That’s something that not every party can say."
As of June 17, there were 1,913 registered Libertarian voters according to the Secretary of State’s website, up 37 percent from July, 2016.
Oakes credits the organization’s recruitment efforts for the growth but admits the current political climate is ripe for third-party growth.
"People are sick of hyper-partisan rhetoric and blind fealty to a color rather than a platform. They’re ready to cast off the burden of associating themselves with a tired duopoly that lives to serve itself rather than ‘We the People,’" Oakes said. "Anyone who detests cronyism, governmental overreach and tax-and-spend policies will be right at home in the Libertarian Party."