And then there were five.
The already-small contingent of Democrats in the South Dakota Senate shrank by one Thursday with the decision by Sen.-elect Eldon Nygaard of Vermillion to switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
That leaves 30 Republicans and five Democrats in the Senate.
In a news release by the South Dakota Republican Party, Nygaard said he switched because he believes "I can represent my district's needs in Pierre more effectively as a member of the Republican Party."
Nygaard also said his "philosophy regarding government's role in society is more in line with the Republican Party."
Before being elected to the state Senate in 2010, Nygaard served two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives.
Democrats accused Nygaard of switching parties out of spite after being defeated for leadership positions.
"It's surprising that when an individual does not receive a leadership position in a caucus they just decide to leave and think that it's going to be better in another party," said Senate Minority Leader Jason Frerichs of Wilmot, who said Nygaard ran unsuccessfully for minority leader as well as assistant minority leader last Saturday.
Nygaard could not be reached for comment Thursday.