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George Theodore Mickelson is Born

Today in Masonic History George Theodore Mickelson is born in 1903.

George Theodore Mickelson was an American politician.

Mickelson was born on July 23rd, 1903 in Selby, South Dakota. He graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University, before going on to receive his Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1927. That same year he began practicing law in Selby.

In 1933, Mickelson began his political career. He first served as States Attorney for Walworth County, where Selby is located, until 1936. Next he served in the South Dakota House of Representatives starting in 1937. He served until 1943 and in his final year he was Speaker of the House. From 1943 to 1947 he served as the South Dakota Attorney General.

In 1947 Mickelson was elected as Governor of South Dakota. He served as Governor until 1951. Mickelson was the first Governor of South Dakota born in the 20th Century. One of Mickelson's sons would also become Governor of South Dakota. They are the only father and son who served as Governors of the state.

In 1952, Mickelson ran as a favorite son candidate in the South Dakota presidential primary in an attempt to support Dwight D. Eisenhower's run for the Presidency. Mickelson lost Eisenhower's chief rival. A favorite son candidate was generally used as a disruptor in a primary where a candidate, in this case Mickelson, is put on the ballot knowing that he would not win the nomination. It was also used in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a method for state delegations to gain leverage against the front runner candidate to gain special considerations.

In December of 1953, Mickelson was appointed to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. This was a recess appointment and Mickelson was not formally confirmed by the Senate until January of 1954. He became chief of the court the following year and remained Chief Justice of the court until he passed away.

Mickelson passed away on February 28th, 1965.

Mickelson was a member of Selby Lodge No. 133 in Selby, South Dakota.