Republicans in South Dakota want Congressman Dusty Johnson back on Capitol Hill.
The 45-year-old Republican Tuesday all but earned a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives when he defeated challenger Taffy Howard, a state lawmaker from the Black Hills.
Johnson finished 59% of the vote to Howard's 41%.
“Everyday South Dakotans started to raise us up. They sent their money, they sent their prayers and they started to share the truth," Johnson told supporters during a victory party at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Sioux Falls.
Election results: South Dakota primary results
No Democrats or Independents filed candidacies seeking South Dakota's lone seat in Congress. However, the Pierre native and former chief of staff under Gov. Dennis Daugaard will not go unopposed in November's general election as he will face a Libertarian challenger.
Johnson's third primary victory since first seeking the U.S. House in 2018 was part of a trio of election victories Tuesday for incumbent statewide office holders. Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune also cruised to victory over opponents to their right.
"Tonight, South Dakotans reaffirmed their support for strong leadership and commonsense solutions with their overwhelming support of Kristi Noem, John Thune and Dusty Johnson," RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Republicans are well on their way to increasing their majorities and keeping the Mount Rushmore State red in November."
While Johnson's win came with a 18% margin, it was the most narrow victory of the three.
Howard, 53, hit Johnson repeatedly with attack ads in the final weeks of the campaign, accusing him of being too moderate for South Dakota.
In a statement sent to the Argus Leader Wednesday morning, the retired armed forces member said she's proud of the campaign she ran.
"I entered this race because I believe we are losing our country and we need to send people to D.C. who will stand up and fight for our citizens, our Constitution, and the principles that made this nation the greatest nation on Earth," Howard said. "I still believe that, but I respect the will of this great state."
The level of out-of-state support that benefited Howard — national political action committees flooded South Dakota mailboxes with literature targeting the Congressman — wasn't enough.
"To the guy in the New Jersey PACs, you're pretty good at the air war, but you will never match the execution of this South Dakota ground game," said Johnson, who then vowed to address the southern border crisis and inflation. "There's a red wave that will be sweeping this country in November."
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Dusty Johnson wins Republican U.S. House primary in South Dakota