The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(Correction: Sen. Karl Mundt was in office for 24 years and three days; a previous edition of this report incorrectly stated he served for 25 years. If Thune were to serve exactly 24 years in the Senate, he will have a slightly shorter career there than Mundt did.)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakotans and many people nationally are waiting to hear whether or not Sen. John Thune will run for reelection. The primary election is on June 7, and the general election is on November 8.
Thune won the election to the U.S. House back in 1996, where he represented the state until 2003. He ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2002 but lost to Democrat Tim Johnson by 524 votes. But in 2004 he won a Senate seat, this time beating Democrat Tom Daschle. Six years later in 2010, he ran unopposed for reelection to the Senate. Then in 2016, he handily beat Democrat Jay Williams for another term in the Senate.
Thune is right now the Republican whip in the Senate. Among leadership there, he is the second-highest-ranking Republican. Right now he serves on the committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry as well as the committee on commerce, science and transportation and the committee on finance.
Thune has a M.B.A from the University of South Dakota after receiving a bachelor’s degree from Biola University in California. He was on the staff of U.S. Sen. James Abdnor from 1985 to 1986. From 1989 until 1991, he was executive director of the state Republican party of South Dakota.
Thune’s present Senate term is set to end next January 3, and he has not announced his plans for what happens after his current term. If he were to run again and then complete a fourth term, he would then be close to the state’s longest-serving senator, but not quite there if he only serves exactly 24 years. Karl Mundt holds that distinction. Mundt was in the Senate for 24 years and three days: from Dec. 31, 1948 until Jan. 3 1973.
Thune has been South Dakota’s highest-profile political voice in Washington in recent years. Friday is his birthday; he’s now 61 years old.