Challengers aim to end Sen. John Thune’s winning streak

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - John Thune is looking to become the second South Dakotan in history to be elected for a fourth-term to the US senate, but his challengers say - it’s time for Thune to come home.

“We feel like he’s kept his focus off of what we need for the state and has interest elsewhere,” said challenger Bruce Whalen.

Whalen, a member of the Ogala Sioux tribe, tells me he’s against big spending and US involvement in foreign wars.

“We need to be about governing according to freedom,” said Whalen, “not according to how we’re going to serve lobbyists or special interests.”

Another republican challenger, Mark Mowry agrees.

“I’m an America first candidate,” said Mowry, adding that he has no interest in the special interests.

“You know as much as I am not a politician or someone that, you know, ever aspired to be a successful politician, I’ll take I’ll take up the mantle,” said Mowry. “I’ll do it for faith, family and freedom and not for the rewards of the swamp”

Mowry and Whalen face an uphill battle, according to South Dakota Political professor Mike Card.

Thune has name recognition, a heavy war chest, and a leadership position in the Senate.

“On the one hand, we don’t like people who have gone washed and gone to Washington, so to speak,” said Card. “On the other hand, we want somebody from South Dakota to be able to influence national policies, specifically in agriculture, and financial trade, our two largest industries.”

In a statement, Senator Thune says,”I’m proud of the campaign that we are running in South Dakota. We haven’t taken any vote for granted and have worked hard to earn the support of everyone in the Republican Party.”

Whoever wins Tuesday’s primary will face Democrat Brian Bengs in November.

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