Michelle Lavallee Joins Sutton Ticket as Lieutenant Governor Pick

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As the race for South Dakota’s next governor heats up, the two candidates are narrowing down their choices for running mates.

Democrat Billie Sutton announced his pick for Lieutenant Governor Thursday morning in what some are calling an “out of the box” choice.

“Balance in our common good is an important part of who we are as South Dakotans. So putting together a balanced ticket was important to me as I chose a Lieutenant Governor candidate,” said Sen. Sutton.

Billie Sutton’s choice for a running mate is an established Sioux Falls businesswoman.

She’s held management roles at several large companies, and served on a number of boards and committees.

She’s also a former member of the Republican Party.

“It’s true I’ve been a republican for decades, but that didn’t matter when I met Billie, I knew that he and I stand for the same things,” said Michelle Lavallee.

Lavallee says she’s switching party affiliation to join the Sutton ticket.

“I have been a lifelong Republican and I am very much fiscally conservative, but socially progressive and the more that I knew about Billie’s positions I realized we really are very much the same. So I really do believe that party doesn’t matter, especially at a time like this in South Dakota when we’re really hoping to change the status quo.”

“Bucking the status quo” is something Sutton’s campaign has promised to do since he entered the governor’s race.

He says picking Lavallee only furthers that message.

“The status quo are the folks that want to continue to see us divided. They want us to fight amongst each other to keep things exactly the way they are because there’s so much entrenched power and that’s what we need to change. We need to give government back to the people and show people that we can come together around shared values. We don’t need to be divided by partisan politics,” said Sen. Sutton.

Republican candidate Kristi Noem is expected to announce her running mate ahead the GOP convention in Sioux Falls next Wednesday.
The Democratic Convention begins Friday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.