A Democratic candidate for South Dakota’s lone U-S House seat has pulled out of the race after coming under scrutiny for tweets he made from his personal account before he considered running for public office.
The state Democratic Party initially said it intended to stand behind Ryan Ryder, an Air Force veteran and lawyer from Black Hawk, but then urged him to drop his candidacy and he agreed.
State Party Chair Randy Seiler issued a statement saying Ryder’s tweets “do not live up to the values of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and we do not support this type of language.”
Ryder told The Associated Press he was apologizing to all of South Dakota and withdrawing from the race because he doesn’t want the tweets to reflect badly on the Democratic party.
He called the tweets “a poor attempt at sarcasm (and) humor (that) crossed the line.” In an AP interview before pulling out, he described the tweets as unprofessional but hoped they would open the door to transparency.
Democratic State Representative and candidate for governor Jamie Smith distanced himself from Ryder, saying he didn’t know Ryder, support him, or condone his actions – adding such tweets are not the way he treats people.
Ryder was hoping to challenge Republican incumbent Dusty Johnson in November and in one of the tweets said he should make an animated video of Johnson’s family getting killed.
He later explained it as a response to Johnson’s vote against censuring Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar for a violent cartoon video that depicted killing a character that looked like New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Dakota News Now reported that many of Ryder’s tweets over the last several years expressed a dislike for South Dakota Republican politicians. In one tweet, he made a remark about performing sexual acts to a picture of Gov. Kristi Noem.