Bolin abandons Public Lands campaign

State Rep. Jim Bolin is dropping out of the race for Commissioner of School and Public Lands to focus his efforts on opposing the Common Core Standards, he said Thursday morning.

Bolin has long been among the most vocal opponents of Common Core in the state. Those standards, developed by the bipartisan National Governors Association, aim to refocus English and math education in the United States. South Dakota, like many states, has adopted the Common Core — over Bolin’s determined opposition in the Legislature.

The announcement leaves just one Republican running for the School and Public Lands office, current deputy Ryan Brunner. Bolin entered the race in March and had been visiting GOP events around the state since then.

In an email, Bolin said fighting Common Core would take too much of his time to also run for statewide office.

"My sole reason for this change in plans is that my de facto leadership role in the resistance to the Common Core educational effort is now requiring major commitments of time and energy," Bolin wrote. "Since March 2013 when I announced my candidacy, public attention, concern, and outright opposition to the national educational standards movement known as Common Core, has increased exponentially. Due to the fact that I was an early and vocal skeptic of the Common Core, I have been deluged with requests to comment on this subject from all over the state. I have concluded that I cannot run an effective statewide race and at the same time be heavily involved in efforts to oppose Common Core."

Bolin said Brunner was a worthy candidate but urged other Republicans to enter the race because “competition is good for our party and our state.”