No Democrats running for SD congressional seat, again

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Democrats have failed to produce a candidate for the state’s U.S. House seat for the second consecutive election cycle.

Rep. Dusty Johnson however, will face a Republican primary challenger. The winner of the contest between Johnson and state Rep. Taffy Howard will likely represent South Dakota in the U.S. House. Although independents could still enter the general election race at a later date.

Democrat Ryan Ryder dropped out of the House race earlier this month when his tweets surfaced that contained several disturbing jokes about Republican politicians in South Dakota. Those tweets were sent before Ryder announced his congressional candidacy.

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

State Democratic Party chairman Randy Seiler says a number of candidates considered a run for the office, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

“Ultimately, for a lot of different reasons, the decision was made that they elected not to run,” he said. “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.

In the U.S. Senate, several Republicans have shown interest in challenging Sen. John Thune in the primary, but no candidate has been certified. Brian Bengs is running for the seat as a Democrat.

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.