Sen. John Thune defeated Democrat Brian Bengs to represent South Dakota in the US Senate.
Bengs told a local news outlet that the January 6 attack on the Capitol inspired him to run for office.
The state was projected to go "solidly Republican."
Republican incumbent Sen. John Thune defeated Democrat Brian Bengs in South Dakota, a victory that could become even more important if Republicans retake the chamber.
South Dakota's Senate race candidates
Thune has served as ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband and ranking member of the Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. Thune also served as the Senate minority whip.
Also a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Thune introduced and co-sponsored legislation on conservation, forest protection and restoration, agricultural disaster assistance, and energy security.
Before being elected to the Senate, Thune served three terms representing South Dakota's at-large congressional district in the US House.
Challenger Bengs is a Navy and Air Force veteran who has also taught at the US Air Force Academy. In an interview with KELOLAND News, he said the January 6 attack on the Capitol inspired him to run for office. In the same interview, he criticized President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness program, calling it a "Band-Aid."
"Like so many political things we do in this country, we address the symptoms rather than the problem," Bengs told KELOLAND.
South Dakota's voting history
The state voted for then-President Donald Trump over Joe Biden by a margin of 26 percentage points in the 2020 election. South Dakota is a ruby-red state; it only voted Democratic four times, most recently in 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson handily defeated Barry Goldwater.
The money race
According to OpenSecrets, Thune raised $12.5 million, spent $6 million, and had $17.2 million cash on hand, as of October 19.
His challenger, Bengs, raised $422,908, spent $355,062, and had $67,846 cash on hand, as of October 19.
What experts say
The race between Thune and Bengs was rated as "solid Republican" by Inside Elections, "solid Republican" by The Cook Political Report, and "safe Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
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