Dusty Johnson declares victory in US House race in South Dakota
The Republican incumbent defeated Libertarian Collin Duprel in the race for South Dakota's lone seat.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Rep. Dusty Johnson declared victory in the lone U.S. House race in South Dakota on Tuesday, Nov. 8, winning a third term in Congress against Libertarian Collin Duprel.
Republican Johnson did not face a Democratic challenger. Duprel was making his first bid for public office.
The vote margin was 78% to 22% in favor of Johnson as of 12:25 a.m. Wednesday, as vote counting continued.
In a speech to supporters gathered in downtown Sioux Falls and broadcast to a statewide audience, Johnson alluded to the rancor of Washington politics.
"My commitment to you is that I am going to bring the same can-do attitude to the majority that I brought to the minority," he said. "The American people have given Republicans the chance to lead. We can’t squander this opportunity. We cannot get distracted by shiny objects. We cannot allow anger to drive us off the path. There is real work to be done."
Johnson, 46, rose through the ranks of the Republican Party winning two terms on the Public Utilities Commission. He was chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard before running for Congress in 2018.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid $174,000 per year.
Duprel, 30, is a fifth-generation rancher who runs a cow-calf operation near Sturgis. He entered the race with the Libertarian Party nomination in August.
Touting traditional Libertarian principles of individual rights, small government and fiscal responsibility, Duprel ran a bare-bones effort and reported no campaign contributions.
Duprel offered himself as a favorable choice for Republicans and Democrats, pointing out that he is a small government, fiscal conservative and socially liberal on issues such as reproductive rights and marriage equality.
"I'm happy to take part in the process and given South Dakota a choice," Duprel told the Forum News Service. "To my voters, I am thankful and happy to have represented you."
Democrats have not forwarded a candidate in the U.S. House race since 2018, when Timothy Bjorkman lost to Johnson by nearly 25 points.
In an interview with Forum News Service, Johnson said the new Farm Bill and fighting inflation, specifically the cost of energy, will be his primary focus in the next term.
The Farm Bill includes nutrition programs such as SNAP, commonly known as food stamps. Johnson said he plans to push to include more work requirements in SNAP. Able-bodied people who aren’t primary caregivers or have other limitations, should be able to work at least part time, he said.
“Work is an opportunity. It’s not a punishment,” he said. “There is no recipe for escaping poverty that doesn’t have work as a requirement.”