Lawrence elected SDGOP chair

Adman Craig Lawrence, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s pick to lead the South Dakota Republican Party, was elected this morning to be the party’s next chair.

Lawrence was elected by the state GOP’s central committee, overcoming a challenge from activist Daniel Willard. He replaces outgoing chair Tim Rave, a state senator from Baltic.

The co-founder of advertising and marketing firm Lawrence & Schiller, Lawrence has long been involved in Republican politics, though never before in a leadership position like this one.

Also elected to the GOP leadership team Saturday were vice-chair Kim Vanneman, secretary Sara Frankenstein and treasurer Justin Bell.

Vanneman is a former Republican legislator from Tripp County. Frankenstein, a Rapid City attorney, recently representing the Pennington County Republican Party and Rep. Brian Gosch in a lawsuit over Gosch’s ballot eligibility. Bell is a Pierre attorney.

All four leaders elected Saturday are new to their posts. In addition to Rave, the former party leadership team was vice chair Kristi Wagner, secretary Matt Konenkamp and treasurer Brett Koenecke.