PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s senior-most member of Congress plans to spend his Independence Day walking the streets of a fast-growing town in Lincoln County.
U.S. Senator John Thune will be in Lennox, about 20 miles southwest of Sioux Falls, Thursday morning for what the city’s leaders describe as the 36th annual “old-fashioned” Fourth of July parade.
Lincoln County voters played a significant role in 2004 when Thune, a Republican who had narrowly lost his 2002 Senate run, knocked U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle out of office.
Thune received 9,671 votes and Daschle 7,468 in the county. Turnout was 84.15 percent, third-highest. Meanwhile turnout in Shannon County, where Daschle had pinned his hopes, was lowest of the 66 counties at 56.98 percent. Daschle won Shannon 3,887-564, but Thune won statewide 197,848-193,340.
South Dakota’s other top two federal elected officials have their own plans for where they want to spend the national holiday.
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds said in his weekly column he will be staying near his family’s hometown of Pierre and Fort Pierre along the Missouri River. Rounds, a Republican, previously served eight years as a state senator and eight years as governor before his 2014 election to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Johnson.
“For decades, we’ve spent the Fourth of July boating and camping on Lake Oahe, just north of Pierre. It’s a fun time for the big Rounds crew to get together with our kids and grandkids to celebrate America’s birthday,” Rounds wrote. “We cherish this special time together even more so this year, since Jean (his wife) is currently undergoing treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We are grateful to be back from Rochester (Minnesota, home of the clinic) over the Fourth of July holiday to spend this time together.”
Rounds spokeswoman Natalie Krings said he also would be “once again handing out flags with the Fort Pierre Exchange Club, of which he’s a member, at the Fort Pierre parade.”
U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson plans to walk the July 4 parade routes in Brookings at 11 a.m. and Watertown at 2 p.m., according to his press secretary, Jazmine Kemp.
Johnson, a Republican, won election to the state Public Utilities Commission in 2004. He won re-election in 2010 but accepted an offer from incoming Governor Dennis Daugaard to serve as chief of staff. Johnson went to the private sector after the first term and won election to the U.S. House seat in 2018 after capturing the Republican nomination in a primary.
Johnson won the House seat that Kristi Noem didn’t defend after four terms because she was running for governor of South Dakota. Noem, a two-term state House member before taking the U.S. House seat in 2010, won the Republican nomination in a 2018 primary against then-Attorney General Marty Jackley and beat state Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton in November.
Noem’s office hadn’t disclosed her plans for Independence Day as of mid-Tuesday.
“The governor will be spending time with family here in South Dakota,” press secretary Kristin Wileman said Wednesday.