SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is hoping to coast to reelection over Democratic state Rep. Jamie Smith amid speculation she is aiming for higher office in two years.

The 50-year-old Republican vaulted to national prominence in the GOP after she derided government mandates aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 infections. Her reelection campaign has focused on her handling of the state’s economy as well as a promise to convince the Legislature to repeal the state’s tax on groceries.

Smith has countered by criticizing Noem’s out-of-state travels as a sign she is more focused on her personal ambition rather than the job at home.

Thune looks for decisive election win in bid for 4th term

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota is seeking a decisive reelection win over his Democratic challenger for a fourth term that could feature a bid to eventually become his party’s leader in the Senate.

The 61-year-old Republican holds a large fundraising advantage over Democrat Brian Bengs, an Air Force veteran and university professor.

Thune is the second-ranking Senate Republican and is seen as a potential pick to succeed Sen. Mitch McConnell once he steps down from leadership.

The most dramatic moment of the campaign for Thune came before it began, when he contemplated retiring rather than running for reelection.

South Dakota voters to decide on Medicaid expansion

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota voters are weighing whether to expand Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income residents through a constitutional amendment after the state Legislature resisted expansion for years.

If Constitutional Amendment D is approved by a majority vote, it would remove South Dakota from a list of 12 states that have not expanded eligibility for the government health insurance program.

People earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level would become eligible for Medicaid.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has resisted Medicaid expansion under the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act. But a wide coalition of health care groups backed a well-funded ballot campaign this year.

South Dakota's Johnson heavy favorite for 3rd term in House

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson faced an unknown and unfunded Libertarian candidate on Tuesday as he sought a third term in South Dakota’s only House seat.

Johnson’s path for reelection seemed assured with Democrats not fielding a candidate. Attorney Ryan Ryder withdrew in March after coming under scrutiny for tweets he made from a personal account.

The 46-year-old Johnson still faces Libertarian Collin Duprel, who did not report raising or spending any money in the campaign. Johnson and Duprel met in a single debate in which the incumbent suggested he would vote for a federal bill to restrict abortions.

Duprel said that he opposes abortion but believes it should be legal.

Voters in 5 states decide whether to legalize marijuana

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Voters in five states are deciding on Election Day whether to approve recreational marijuana.

The proposals going before voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota on Tuesday could signal a major shift toward legalization in even the most conservative parts of the country.

The proposals follow President Joe Biden's announcement that he'll pardon thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession. Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, and the five states with ballot measures already have legal medical marijuana programs.

Another proposal on Colorado's ballot would allow the use of certain psychedelic substances.