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State Democrats fail to put up US House candidate, again

Republican U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, left, and challenger Taffy Howard will face each other in the June primary. There is no Democratic candidate for the office.

For the second consecutive election cycle, there is no Democrat running for South Dakota’s U.S. House seat.

However, Rep. Dusty Johnson does face a Republican primary challenger.

The primary race between Johnson and Republican state Rep. Taffy Howard will likely determine South Dakota’s representative in the U.S. House, although independent candidates could still enter the general election race at a later date.

A Democratic candidate dropped out of the race after scrutiny over tweets he sent before he became a candidate.

Ryan Ryder, a Box Elder Air Force veteran, said the tweets were a poor attempt at sarcasm.

Randy Seiler is the state Democratic Party chair. He says a number of candidates considered a run for the office.

“Ultimately, for a lot of different reasons, the decision was made that they elected not to run. We’re still hopeful. Our focus, now, will be on the U.S. Senate and the gubernatorial race.”

In the governor’s race, Democrat Jamie Smith, who’s minority leader of the state House, will face the primary election winner between Gov. Kristi Noem and former House Speaker Steve Haugaard.

Several Republicans have said they want to challenge U.S. Sen. John Thune in the primary, but nobody is currently shown as a certified candidate against him on the Secretary of State's website. If there is a primary, the winner will face Democratic candidate Brian Bengs in the general election.

The South Dakota primary election is June 7. The deadline for members of political parties to file nominating petitions was Tuesday. The deadline for independents is April 26.

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.