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Thune, after mulling retirement, announces re-election bid

Senator John Thune delivering floor remarks on December 16, 2021
Senator John Thune delivering floor remarks on Dec. 16, 2021.

South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune says he’s seeking re-election.

The announcement ends months of speculation about whether the second-ranking Republican in the Senate would run again.

If re-elected, he will achieve something only one other person in state history has done—serve as a South Dakota senator for four terms. That person was Karl Mundt.

Tony Venhuizen is a former chief of staff for recent governors, and the writer of a blog about South Dakota political history.

“Four terms is 24 years. That’s a long time in politics. It can be difficult for somebody to maintain their political strength and connection to the state for that amount of time,” Venhuizen says. “Now, John Thune seems to be the rare figure who was able to do that. It certainly appears that he will be elected without much trouble. I think he’s very likely to join that club with Karl Mundt.”

Thune faces a primary challenger in musician and writer Mark Mowry.

According to the latest Federal Election Commission filings, Thune has about $15 million in his campaign account.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.