Aberdeen City Councilman Mark Remily has changed his political affiliation.
The long-time Democrat said he registered as a Republican so he can vote in the GOP primary next year.
It appears there will be at least three Republican primary races in June — for U.S. House of Representatives, South Dakota governor and Brown County sheriff.
Remily said he's especially interested in the local sheriff's race in which Dan Kaiser has said he will challenge incumbent Mark Milbrandt in the primary. Both men are Republicans. Milbrandt has been sheriff since 1994. Kaiser is an Aberdeen police officer and state representative.
Republican primaries are closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote in them.
Remily said he wants to be able to support Milbrandt.
"I want to have a voice in our democracy," Remily said when asked why he changed his party registration. "That's my reason, and it's an important one."
He said he's not sure if the switch will be temporary or permanent.
"I just want to see what the political climate is after the next election," Remily said.
He challenged Republican David Novstrup in 2014 to represent District 3 in the state Senate, but lost. Remily's city council term, which runs into 2022, is nonpartisan.
In South Dakota, GOP primaries often act as de facto elections as the party has a decided advantage in voter registration.
To date, four Republicans have announced their intentions to run for governor — Attorney General Marty Jackley, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, former state Rep. Lora Hubbel and Terry LaFleur.
At least three Republicans are seeking Noem's U.S. House seat — Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, former Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson and Eric Terrell.
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