About Denise

Denise Ross is a former newspaper reporter and editor who has covered South Dakota's recent rowdy political beat. She worked a bit more than a decade for the Rapid City Journal, South Dakota's second largest newspaper.

When Denise started covering South Dakota politics in 1999, everything seemed calm. The 2000 political cycle was relatively uneventful. Then came the 2002 U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson and the state's popular Republican Congressman John Thune. Johnson won by 524 votes, the lone bright spot in an otherwise disappointing election cycle for the state's other senator and the U.S. Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle.

That same year, the state's longest serving governor, Republican Bill Janklow, was elected to the U.S. House. Before Janklow could run for re-election, he drove through a stop sign and killed Minnesota farmer and motorcyclist Randy Scott. After he was convicted of manslaughter, Janklow resigned, and South Dakota geared up for a special election. By June 2004, Democrat Stephanie Herseth represented the state in Congress.

Also by June 2004, John Thune was back, this time challenging Tom Daschle. In an historic upset, Thune unseated Daschle.

In between covering all of these events, Denise also covered South Dakota's Legislature, where she got to know many of the people who became key players in the 2006 campaign over the abortion ban.

Denise is a South Dakota native with family roots in the famous motorcycle town of Sturgis. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University (go Jacks!). After she left the Rapid City Journal, she immediately began work on Unplanned Democracy and launched a political blog, Hoghouse Blog.

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