The 1942 South Dakota gubernatorial election was held on November 3, 1942. Incumbent Republican Governor Harlan J. Bushfield declined to seek re-election to a third term and instead successfully ran for the U.S. Senate. A crowded Republican primary developed to succeed him, and because no candidate received 35% of the vote, the nomination was decided at the state Republican convention, where former Attorney General Merrell Q. Sharpe, the second-place finisher in the primary, won the nomination. In the general election, Sharpe faced Democratic nominee Lewis W. Bicknell, the 1940 Democratic nominee for Governor. Aided by the national Republican landslide, Sharpe defeated Bicknell in a landslide.
Sharpe: 50-60% 60-70% 70-80% 80-90%Bicknell: 50–60% 60–70%
Lewis W. Bicknell—a former Day County State's Attorney, former Chairman of the State Department of Public Welfare, and the 1940 Democratic nominee for Governor—announced that he would again run for Governor. He was the only Democratic candidate to file and he won the Democratic nomination for Governor unopposed, thereby removing the race from the primary ballot.
- Joseph H. Bottum, State Director of Taxation, former Faulk County State's Attorney
- Merrell Q. Sharpe, former Attorney General of South Dakota
- Leo A. Temmey, Attorney General of South Dakota
- Millard G. Scott, State Rural Credit Director
At the May 5, 1942, primary, all four candidates ended up with vote totals that were within six thousand votes of each other, and for the first time since 1930, no candidate received the requisite 35% of the vote. Merrell Q. Sharpe, who ran on a reform, "oust the state house" platform, was seen by many observers as having a lead coming into the convention, despite placing second in the primary. There was speculation that Sharpe's three other opponents would consolidate their forces to defeat him at the convention, but uncertainty as to whether they would do so. Influential state Republicans, chief among them Governor Bushfield, declined to publicly intervene. At the convention, Sharpe took an early lead, and despite the speculation about anti-Sharpe consolidation, as Temmey and Scott collapsed, the vast majority of their votes went to Sharpe, not Bottom. On the third ballot, with Temmey's support halved and Scott's near zero, Sharpe easily won a majority, earning himself the nomination.
Primary election resultsEdit
|Republican||Joseph H. Bottum||23,714||28.85%|
|Republican||Merrell Q. Sharpe||21,208||25.68%|
|Republican||Leo A. Temmey||20,107||24.46%|
|Republican||Millard G. Scott||17,272||21.01%|
|Merrell Q. Sharpe||66,598||74,369||100,023|
|Joseph H. Bottum||43,066||49,537||47,218|
|Leo A. Temmey||35,162||28,171||18,342|
|Millard G. Scott||21,134||14,902||1,396|
|Republican||Merrell Q. Sharpe||109,786||61.51%||+6.37%|
|Democratic||Lewis W. Bicknell||68,706||38.49%||-6.37%|
- "Lewis W. Bicknell, Webster, Again to Be Candidate for Nomination for Governor". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. January 28, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- Oliver, D. Harold (May 3, 1942). "S. D. To Join Three States In Primaries: Campaigning Fades Before War Interest". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "Joe Bottum, Millard Scott Announce Candidacies for G. O. P. Governor Nomination". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. December 29, 1941. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "Sharpe Seeks GOP Nomination". Rapid City Journal. Rapid City, S.D. March 2, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "Attorney General Temmey Candidate for Republican Nomination for Governor". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. January 9, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "G.O.P. to Name Ticket's Head in Convention". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. May 6, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- Mikkelson, Gordon (June 6, 1942). "'Stop Sharpe' Move is Seen in Convention: Determined Fight Expected Among Four Candidates for G. O. P. Honor". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- Mikkelson, Gordon; Milner, Harold S. (June 7, 1942). "Republicans Prepare to Select Governor". Deadwood Pioneer-Times. Deadwood, S.D. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "Sharpe Wins GOP Nomination for Governor". Weekly Pioneer-Times. Deadwood, S.D. June 11, 1942. p. 3. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- Nelson, Nelson; Heinrich, Chad W., eds. (2005). "Chapter 8: Elections". Legislative Manual: South Dakota, 2005. Pierre, S.D. p. 631.