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Winter 2014/15


Prentice leaves Portland to manage

‘Susan for South Dakota’

Prentice said she fell in love with USD the

week she spent on campus as a high school

student. The Wessington, S.D., native’s

decision to be become a Coyote was almost instant, but her

path to become a gubernatorial campaign manager was not a

direct one.

Prentice said she was hardly involved with campus politics

as a USD student besides taking courses to fulfill her major.

She spent a year as a member of the Political Science League,

a nonpartisan student organization, but said much of her

involvement revolved around her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta.

She accepted the first job she was offered after graduation,

which was in sales. But Prentice’s thoughts strayed back to her

political science roots. She began to volunteer for local and state

campaigns, including the 2010 re-election campaign of former

Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

“I started to put in 15 to 20 hours a week just campaigning—

plus my full-time job,” Prentice said. “I knew I loved campaigning

right away.”

She first held the position of campaign manager for

Democratic State Sen. Angie Buhl in July 2011. Buhl had won

the general election unopposed in 2010 and would be re-elected

in 2012 with Prentice by her side.

The USD graduate went on to develop fundraising

campaigns with members of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota

until she accepted a finance associate position for Oregon United

for Marriage, a same-sex marriage coalition based in Portland.

But she would not make it a year in the Pacific Northwest.

Wismer and her ambition to become the first female governor

of South Dakota made sure of this.

Prentice worked with the state representative’s daughter,

USD alumna Kelly Wismer, during the Matt Varilek

campaign two years earlier in an attempt to oust Rep. Kristi

Noem, R-S.D., from office. When Wismer knew she wanted to

Gov. Daugaard and Webb

Prentice and Wismer

Photo courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Tourism