Shantel Krebs

South Dakota’s secretary of state is now running to be her state’s sole U.S. House representative, aiming to succeed fellow Republican Kristi L. Noem, who is running for governor.

By Zoe Searles and Candice Helfand-Rogers

Editor’s Note: Our coverage of Shantel Krebs is part of Running Women, a project following 15 compelling women candidates for U.S. political offices in 2018. Read the latest on her campaign below.

Shantel Krebs, South Dakota candidate for CongressShantel Krebs is South Dakota’s secretary of state. She is also a Republican candidate for the state’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a race that became more competitive after incumbent Republican Rep. Kristi Noem decided to run for governor, instead of reelection to Congress.

Krebs’ platform reflects her conservative priorities, emphasizing curbing voter fraud and promoting economic reform that avoids tax hikes. South Dakota is a red state — its citizens have cast the majority of their ballots for the last seven Republican presidential candidates, and have elected three consecutive Republican governors. Its state legislature is also Republican-controlled. As such, the toughest race may be the Republican primary in June. Then, Krebs will face Dusty Johnson, a businessman and former chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, and Eric Terrell, a political unknown who lists Tennessee as his state of residence on his official candidate filing.

Krebs is the field’s top fundraiser, reporting $404,000 in campaign funding as of Sept. 30, thanks in part to an endorsement from Maggie’s List, a political action committee that helps conservative women get elected to federal offices. In January, she was endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List, which works to elect pro-life candidates. Should she prevail in the primary, she will face one of the two Democratic candidates vying for the office: former technology professional Chris Martian and Timothy Bjorkman, a former state court judge.

Krebs’ first foray into politics was an unsuccessful run for the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2002. But that initial loss was followed by a series of successes. She became the representative to South Dakota’s House for the 10th District in 2005, and held on to the seat until 2011. After that, she serve as a state senator until 2015, and became majority whip. She was also named chairperson of the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2011 — the first woman in the state’s history to do so. Krebs then won her campaign for secretary of state in 2015.

Krebs, who lives on a ranch near Fort Pierre with her husband, has won other contests — as a beauty pageant contestant. She was crowned Miss South Dakota in 1997.

She also boasts a lengthy background in business. After graduating Dakota State University, she worked in the healthcare industry and later became the owner of two retail stores in downtown Sioux Falls. She also worked in development for business services firm Milo Belle Consultants, among other professional achievements.

The Latest on the Campaign

January 29, 2018:
Krebs Picks Up Endorsement of Women-Led Pro-Life PAC

National pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Shantel Krebs for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district on Thursday, making her one of the organization’s first endorsements for the 2018 election cycle.

“We are excited to endorse Shantel Krebs,” said former U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, who is SBA List’s vice president of government affairs, in a statement. “Shantel has helped lead the way for South Dakota to become one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”

SBA List has endorsed five 2018 candidates so far, all women. The organization was founded in 1992 to increase the number of pro-life women in federal and statewide offices, though today it does back male candidates as well. Together with its super PAC, Women Speak Out, the organization spent more than $18 million during the 2016 election cycle and knocked on more than 1.1 million doors in battleground states, according to its website.

Since its founding, SBA List, which has more than 600,000 members, has helped elect more than 110 candidates to the U.S. House, 20 to the U.S. Senate and 23 to statewide offices around the country, it says. The group is led by Marjorie Dannenfelser, a former staffer for members of Congress and one of its original organizers.

Posted: January 17, 2018

Zoe Searles and Candice Helfand-RogersShantel Krebs