U.S. Senator John Thune announced today that he will seek a fourth six-year term in the U.S. Senate.
The announcement ended several months of speculation about whether the state’s senior senator would retire after twenty-four years in Washington. As this blog wrote last week, Thune would have been only the fifth U.S. Senator from South Dakota to retire, and the first to walk away while in good health and likely to be reelected.
Instead, Thune will be pursuing a different historical milestone: to join Karl E. Mundt as the only South Dakotan to be elected to four terms in the U.S. Senate. Three other U.S. Senators from South Dakota sought fourth terms and lost: George McGovern, who lost to Jim Abdnor in 1980; Larry Pressler, who lost to Tim Johnson in 1996; and Tom Daschle, whom Thune defeated in 2004.
A fourth U.S. Senate term for Thune will also put him into the “Over 25” list that this blog wrote about last month, as his three U.S. House terms and four U.S. Senate terms would total 30 years (assuming he completes a fourth term).
In addition to his longevity, Senator Thune is among the most successful political figures in South Dakota history. He is the only U.S. Senator from South Dakota to be elected unopposed (in 2010), and in contested general elections, he has recorded three of the top ten results in state history.