A week after missing his self-imposed deadline for saying if he would seek a fourth term, South Dakota U-S Senator John Thune announced Saturday that he is indeed running for reelection.
Thune, who turned 61 on Friday, had considered retiring in recent months but said in a statement that South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect and he’s “uniquely qualified to get that job done.
Thune is the currently #2 in the Republican Senate Leadership, but drew the public wrath of Donald Trump when he acknowledged after the 2020 election that Joe Biden had won and said it was time to “move on.”
Trump urged Gov Kristi Noem to challenge Thune this year, but she instead decided to seek reelection. Three other candidates have entered the GOP primary – Mark Mowry, Patrick Schubert, and Bruce Whalen – but all are longshots.
Not only does Thune have $14.8-million dollars in campaign cash, a poll published Nov 4 by Morning Consult showed 88% of Republican voters in South Dakota strongly or at least somewhat approve of his job performance – up nearly 20% from a May poll.
Thune has been in Congress since 1997, serving 3 terms in the House before unsuccessfully challenging Democratic Senator Tim Johnson in 2002, an election he lost by 524 votes.
He challenged Senate Majority Leader Tom Dasche 2 years later and won with 51% of the vote in the most expensive election in South Dakota history with a combined total of $30-million dollars.
Thune was unopposed in both parties when he won a second term in 2010 and drew nearly 72% against Democrat Jay Williams in 2016.