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Mike Huether

In this Nov. 8, 2011, photo, Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether, right, speaks at a press conference after voters in Sioux Falls approved a measure to build a $115 million events center. Sioux Falls councilman Jim Entenman is at left. (AP Photo/Kristi Eaton)

South Dakota Republicans are salivating over the prospect of three popular and highly qualified potential 2018 gubernatorial candidates in Kristi Noem, Marty Jackley and Mark Mickelson. Meanwhile, there's a potential candidate on the Democratic side who's flying somewhat under the radar, at least over here on the western side of the state.

That's Mike Huether, mayor of Sioux Falls. I saw a story by the Vermillion Plain Talk recently about a presentation Huether delivered to the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company. It sure sounded like the kind of presentation that former Gov. Mike Rounds delivered as he toured the state while governor to talk about economic development and school funding.

Huether's current mayoral term ends in 2018, which is also the last year of current Gov. Dennis Daugaard's second and final term.

Lest anyone doubt Huether's ambition, consider the following tidbit courtesy of Sioux Falls Argus Leader columnist Stu Whitney, from a piece he wrote in September about Democratic strategist Steve Hildebrand.

As for Huether's contention that being mayor of Sioux Falls is his "dream job," his former campaign manager disputes that characterization and says they had conversations about him running for governor before the mayoral push.

"Mike has wanted to be governor of South Dakota since he was a kid," says Hildebrand. "It was never about being the mayor of Sioux Falls, it was always about being governor. He came back from San Antonio (where he worked for Citibank) with a big fat file that said, Huether for Governor."

The end of Daugaard's term in January 2019 will mark 40 consecutive years of Republican governors in South Dakota. For somebody as energetic and successful as Huether, the chance to break such a historic streak has to be an enticing challenge. 

In closing, I'll note that the Internet domain name was created by someone in 2007, three years before Huether became mayor.

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Enterprise Reporter

Enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal and author of "Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills."