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
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
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