Republican challengers rally near S.D. Capitol

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — About 50 people, nearly all in stocking caps, winter gloves and thick coats, braved the bitter wind on a cold overcast last Saturday of April to hear four challengers tell why they’re running against incumbents in South Dakota’s June 7 Republican primary elections for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

None of the current officeholders attended the rally on a closed-off street a block north of the state Capitol building.

State Representative Taffy Howard of Rapid City is running against U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson of Mitchell.

“Our kids are being told to fill out grids to figure out where they fall on the oppressor and oppressed scale. And yeah, you guessed it, probably — the top on the oppressor is the white, English-speaking, Christian male,” Howard said.

State Representative Steve Haugaard of Sioux Falls is taking on Governor Kristi Noem of Castlewood.

“We need to have full, fair, open, honest, transparent discussions about all these issues and get it out in the open and have the discussions,” said Haugaard, a past speaker of the state House.

Mark Mowry of Spearfish and Bruce Whalen of Pine Ridge are competing to unseat U.S. Senator John Thune of Sioux Falls.

“I didn’t come here to campaign today,” Mowry said. “I came, as I said, to stand in solidarity with all of those who are refusing to comply with things we know better than to comply with.”

“We’re discovering that there was a plan-demic, that there was eugenics going on around the world, that we did have a stolen election,” said Whalen, wearing a Trump 2024 hat with the slogan ‘Make Votes Count Again.’

The challengers called for freer approaches to dealing with COVID-19 and criticized the incumbents for being too restrictive in their stances.