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Annette Bosworth, of Sioux Falls and a Plankinton native, conducts a meet-and-greet Wednesday afternoon at The Depot in Mitchell as part of her ongoing testing of the waters regarding a potential run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. (Jordan Steffen/Republic)

Bosworth gauges support for US Senate run

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

A Plankinton native has been traveling across South Dakota meeting people as she weighs a possible run for the U.S. Senate.

Annette Bosworth, 41, a Republican who works as a physician in Sioux Falls, was at The Depot from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in Mitchell for a meet-and-greet.

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"Repeatedly," she said, "the message has been government is too big; the cost of my taxes continues to go up."

In an interview with The Daily Republic before the event, Bosworth said she came to Mitchell to meet with locals and hear their concerns. She admires how politically active the Mitchell area is, she said.

"Mitchell is another example of the heart of South Dakota," she said.

Bosworth credits her own political dreams to the late former Gov. Bill Janklow. She said he was the first person to plant the idea of running for office in her mind.

Janklow saw the innovations Bosworth was making in medicine and wanted to see that kind of innovation in politics, Bosworth said. At first, Bosworth was hesitant to pursue a career in politics.

"I was meant to be a doctor," she said. "I didn't want to be a politician."

In the last several years, though, Bosworth said, the government has grown too large and inefficient.

"I'm not running for the U.S. Senate because I want to be a politician," she said. "They need a change agent. They need somebody to lead the change."

Bosworth said the federal government should have only three roles: protecting the country, educating the people and caring for those who can't care for themselves.

"I think using those as a foundation to grow from can be a launching pad," she said.

Former Gov. Mike Rounds is the only Republican to announce his candidacy for the seat now held by Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who isn't seeking re-election.

If Bosworth or any other Republicans challenge Rounds, there would be a primary election next June ahead of the general election in November.

Rounds' campaign manager, Rob Skjonsberg, said Tuesday in an email reply to The Daily Republic that the Rounds campaign is focused on building a strong, statewide organization and not on potential challengers.

"We don't spend time thinking or planning for hypothetical opponents," Skjonsberg said. "We're prepared to take on all comers."

When asked to compare herself to Rounds, Bosworth declined to answer, saying she would rather have voters in South Dakota support her on her own merits.

"I don't want to compare myself to somebody else," she said.

Before she makes a final decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination, Bosworth said she wants to meet with more voters.

"I think the conversation needs to be continued before I can clearly understand what South Dakota will want," she said.

Bosworth made headlines earlier this year for nonpolitical reasons.

In January, she agreed to pay the state $5,529.34 in a civil settlement related to assertions she submitted reimbursement claims to Medicaid containing inaccurate information and submitted claims for non-covered services, according to a January news release from the South Dakota Attorney General's Office.

Bosworth never admitted any wrongdoing in the case, the news release says.

The State Board of Medical Examiners reprimanded Bosworth in June 2012 for employing a physician's assistant who wasn't licensed to practice, but allowed her to keep her medical license.

Bosworth's parents, who still live in Plankinton, have been supportive of her new political venture, Bosworth said.

"The more they hear me talk about my stance and my issues," she said, "the more I think they're proud of who I am and who I'm speaking for."

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