Judge Robert Spears wins close race but faces mandatory retirement age

November 10, 2022

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A contested judicial race in northeast South Dakota was decided by voters Tuesday.

In the Watertown-based Third Circuit, 68-year-old incumbent Robert Spears defeated Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore in a very close race.

The election saw Spears come out ahead with 15,536 votes, compared to 14,799 for Moore. The margin of victory was 737 votes out of more than 30,000 ballots cast.

Spears will face mandatory retirement at age 70.

Governor Kristi Noem will choose a replacement judge to serve in the interim period between his retirement and the next judicial election in 2030.