South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson will seek a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, his campaign announced Monday.
Johnson, 45, was first elected to the House in 2018. Prior to that, he served as former Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff and as a commissioner on the Public Utilities Commission.
Johnson said he will take his record to voters, adding “the results are in, the data are in.”
“I think South Dakotans have a pretty good sense over three years: I’ve kept my promises,” he said.
Johnson has worked with his House colleagues to get legislation passed while doing so as a conservative Republican. He says that tack has succeeded: The conservative Heritage Action for America currently rates him with a 98% score based on its conservative metrics, while Johnson was also named last year as the most effective Republican on agriculture issues by the Center for Effective Lawmaking. The center is a collaborative project from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia.
Last month, Johnson worked with Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, of California, to pass an overhaul of ocean shipping regulations. It was one of 15 bills that Johnson has sponsored and that have passed the House or been implemented administratively.
Johnson will need his conservative credentials to fend off a primary challenge from the right. He is being challenged by state Rep. Taffy Howard. Howard, a U.S. Air Force veteran, announced her candidacy in October. When she kicked off her race, she said: "I'm hearing from average South Dakotans and they want change and they want someone who is an actual conservative."
Johnson had $1.7 million in cash on hand, according to the latest Federal Election Commission data. Howard had $72,000.
Democrats have not fielded a candidate. The Cook Political Report, which analyzes House and Senate races, currently ranks South Dakota as a seat likely to be held by Republicans.
Should he retain his seat, Johnson could see his first term in the majority. Democrats currently hold a slim 10-seat advantage in the House, but historically, the party that controls the White House concedes congressional seats in mid-term elections.
He said it’s been frustrating being in the minority.
“Inflation does not have to be like this,” he said. “The southern border does not have to be like this.”
Johnson said he’s hopeful a Republican-controlled House can temper federal spending and deal with the southern border, which has seen record illegal crossings. He also said the government needs to reform programs that are encouraging people not to work.
“If you’re a 22-year-old single man in downtown Minneapolis who chooses not to work, why would we pay your bills for you?” he said.
The primary election is June 7.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: US Rep. Dusty Johnson, South Dakota Republican, seek third House term