Dusty Johnson wins; protects third-party competitors

SIOUX FALLS, SD – US Representative Dusty Johnson was re-elected to a third term in the United States House, defeating libertarian Colleen Duprel. The race was called shortly after the West River voting closed.

Johnson, 46, managed to defeat a libertarian challenger in the second round of the election in a row. But Duprel, a native of Spearfish, was more competitive for the seat than the Libertarian candidate who came before him, Randy Luallin.

In the singles debate of the competition with South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB), Duprel criticized a number of votes Johnson took in Congress, especially on social issues and spending. In addition, Duprel has participated in a number of campaign events around the state, a stark contrast to the state’s other Libertarian candidates on the ballot in recent years.

In the end, it wasn’t enough to defeat Johnson, who has relatively high approval ratings among South Dakotans, high name recognition and a bigger campaign war chest.

Throughout his political career, Johnson has sought to cultivate a reputation as a Republican willing to work with Democrats to get things done. He points to his time in Congress and the bills he passed as proof.

With Republicans expected to take a majority in the U.S. House this year, Johnson will likely govern with a majority for the first time since being elected to Congress.

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