Borglum Says GOP Establishment Discouraging Higher Office

May 2, 2019

A South Dakota state legislator claims she was threatened not to run for a U.S. Senate seat by U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson. The congressman says he was just trying to be politically helpful.

Republican Rep. Scyller Borglum sent a news release and posted a Facebook video this week about a "DC-style ambush" at a Lincoln Day dinner last weekend. Borglum says Johnson, a Republican, threatened her not to challenge U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds next year.

“I’ve been hearing this a lot, people have been hearing this and I know it’s been going around political circles,” Borglum says. “But I’m working really hard as a state legislator. This is what I do, this is what I was elected to do. So, I answered his question, I said, ‘No, I’m working as a state legislator. This is my MO.’”

Borglum says she’s made no announcement about plans to seek a higher office.

Johnson says he's baffled by Borglum's reaction to their conversation, which he described as friendly. He says he didn't threaten Borglum or her political future or tell her not to challenge Rounds.

“Well, Scyller has told folks across the state that she was thinking about running for US Senate,” Johnson says. “And that is absolutely her prerogative.  I just wanted to make it clear to her that I think she’s got an opportunity to be productive and helpful and I have been helpful to her in the past. I just mentioned that if she was thinking about running against Mike Rounds I didn’t think that was the right move for her.

Borglum says the state's Republican "establishment" is more concerned about its future plans than helping her improve as a legislator.