South Dakota Sen. John Thune announces plans for re-election

South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune announced his plans for re-election in a tweet Saturday morning. Thune will be seeking a fourth term.

“I’ve always promised that I would do the work, even when it was hard uncomfortable, or unpopular. That work continues, which is why after careful consideration and prayer, and with the support of my family, I’m asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them in the U.S. Senate. South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect. I am uniquely positioned to get that job done, and I look forward to earning the support of all South Dakotans in the 2022 election for U.S. Senate,” Sen. Thune said in a statement.

Thune is the No. 2 ranking Republican member of the Senate and served as the Majority Whip when Republicans controlled more seats in the Senate in 2018-2020. Speculation about Thune’s future gained national attention as the New York Times reported last month Thune had been considering not seeking another six-year term in the Senate.

Thune first won office in 1996 as South Dakota’s lone representative in the U.S. House. He won re-election again in 1998 and 2000 but did not seek a fourth term in the House. 

In 2002, he challenged former Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson and lost by 524 votes. Despite the narrow defeat, Thune ran again for Senate in 2004 and ousted former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle by a margin of 4,500 votes in that year’s most expensive Senate race.

The South Dakota Democratic Party is questioning Thune’s desire to serve another term in the Senate.

The state party chairman Randy Seiler posted on Saturday, “After weeks of saying he’s not sure he wants to represent South Dakota for another term in the Senate, John Thune announced his intent to run for reelection… South Dakotans deserve a U.S. Senator who actually wants the job…”

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