In most of the territorial or state elections the Democrats, or the Democrats and Populists united, have been triumphant, a Republican governor having been elected only in 1892; but the contests have often been ardent and bitter.
In national politics South Dakota has been consistently Republican, except in the election of 1896, when, as a result of the hard times which followed the panic, the Populists and Democrats were able to form a coalition and carry the state for William J.
In 1894 the Republicans united with the Populists, elected three congressional representatives, secured control of many of the counties, but failed to carry the state, and continued their opposition with less success in the next campaigns.
In consequence of Czech aggressiveness, the German parties (the German Progressists, the German Populists, the Constitutional Landed Proprietors and the Christian Socialists, created a joint executive committee and a supreme committee of four members to watch over German racial interests.
With the exception of the German Populists who felt that a German " Liberal " party could not well oppose an extension of popular rights, all the German Liberals were antagonistic, some bitterly, to the measure.
Before 1897 the administration of the state was controlled by the Republican party; but in 1896 Democrats, Populists and those Republicans who believed in free coinage of silver united, and until 1902 elected a majority of all candidates for state offices.