Another S.D. GOP Leader Steps Down

With less than two weeks to go before next month's general election, another South Dakota Republican Party leader is stepping down.

Jan Nicolay (search), a member of the party's executive board who spent 14 years in the Legislature, said Thursday she is upset with some of the tactics being used in this year's election.

Her resignation comes in the wake of the recent resignations of six other people connected to the party.

At issue are questions students on some college campuses have raised about whether absentee ballot applications were legally notarized.

Because of the flap, Nicolay said some students have become disillusioned with the political process and that's not right.

"It would be easier to sit back and say and do nothing but at the same time I couldn't do that," Nicolay said. "I just think it's a disservice to the young people that are probably for the first time getting involved or looking forward to getting involved."

Nicolay said the party did the right thing by enforcing a zero-tolerance policy, but she said she still doesn't want to be involved anymore.

"I'm bothered. We need to keep it clean. We need to protect this process. And people that are involved in it need to understand that. The candidates need to set the highest standard and say this is what we need to do and I guess I don't think it's been done.

"What is worse is the whole tone of campaigning and how it reflects on all of us."

In a statement, the party said it had already acted appropriately to address the issues Nicolay raised.

Randy Frederick (search), state GOP chairman, said the issues raised during the Senate and House campaigns are more important to South Dakotans than the controversy over the ballot applications.

The people in charge of political party operations "ought to be protecting these young people," Nicolay said. "I was so excited. I thought, we're really getting a number of new people involved in the election process. Now, with this, this just isn't right."

Republican Gov. Mike Rounds (search) issued a statement urging Nicolay to reconsider.

"I have the utmost respect for Jan Nicolay," the governor said. "For as long as I have known her, she has been a true champion for the youth of this state. ... While I respect Jan's decision, her leadership and vision will be missed. I hope she will reconsider."