Before the reporters talked about it on the news, it appeared on a ticker of upcoming headlines as "Mike Huether changes political party," and I said "NOOOOOOO!" because I automatically assumed that he was going from Democrat to Republican. But it's not that at all; he's merely becoming an independent.
Let me explain what that means: there is, in this country, a political party actually called the Independent Party, but it's not recognized in South Dakota. To be registered as an independent in South Dakota merely means that you're registered to vote but not affliated with any political party.
It's a bold choice on the part of the mayor. While I admire it on a personal level, I don't know if it was a politically savvy move. If he intends (as I hope he does) to continue his political career, I can see pros and cons about it either way. On the one hand, you're losing the support--financial and otherwise--of a major political party, but on the other hand, you're making a statement to the voters: they can't just pigeonhole you, they're going to have to pay attention and think about who you are and what you stand for. I said before that being a Democratic former mayor of Sioux Falls isn't necessarily an advantage if you're trying to convince South Dakotans as a whole to vote for you; by taking this step, he's telling South Dakotans: "I'm not necessarily what you think I am, so don't dismiss me out of hand."
Again, I have little real knowledge and less interest in political science, so take my opinion with a giant grain of salt, but I think this indicates that he's more interested in running for governor in 2018 rather than running for the House of Representatives, simply because I think being part of a political party would be more to his advantage in the House race.
In any case, yesterday I said that he struck me as a man who isn't interested in being the pawn of a particular political party, and this more or less confirms that, as well as increases my respect for him.