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Dusty Johnson wins U.S. House in SD, Republicans maintain control of state offices

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South Dakota's State Capitol building. Matt Gade / Republic2 / 4
Dusty Johnson with his son Ben, 10, before the results come in. Matt Gade / Mitchell Daily Republic3 / 4
Dusty Johnson hugs a friend while walking around prior to the results coming in. 4 / 4

PIERRE, S.D. -- With 91 percent of precincts reporting and an official concession from his opponent, Republican Dusty Johnson has won South Dakota’s singular seat in the U.S. House.

Results as of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, showed Johnson with approximately 61 percent of the vote, with 35 percent going to his Democratic opponent Tim Bjorkman.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Johnson said he is grateful to South Dakota voters for their support.

“I have energy to burn and now I’m going to be going to use that energy to put South Dakota first every day in Congress,” Johnson continued. “Starting Wednesday, my top priority will be tackling the Farm Bill.”

Johnson previously worked for South Dakota’s state government for 12 years, most notably as chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for four years. He left politics in 2014 to become vice president of telecommunications firm Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell.

He will serve a two-year term with a salary of $174,000.

Also on South Dakotans’ ballots were candidates for statewide office. Thanks to term limits, January will usher several new faces into Pierre, and early returns showed Republicans will likely retain their vast executive control.

According to unofficial and incomplete results, Republican Jason Ravnsborg won 56 percent of the vote for attorney general, beating Democratic opponent Randy Seiler by 12 percentage points. Republican Steve Barnett won 66 percent of the vote for secretary of state, compared to Democratic opponent Alexandra Frederick’s 34 percent.

Also in statewide elections,Josh Haeder won his bid for treasurer, Rich Sattgast for state auditor, Kristie Fiegen for public utilities commissioner and Ryan Brunner for public lands commissioner. All are Republicans.

Early results indicate South Dakota’s legislature will still be controlled by a Republican majority come January, though not all races were called by 11:45 p.m.

In addition to candidates, South Dakotans voted on five ballot measures.

Notably, unofficial results indicate that a majority 55 percent of voters voted no on Amendment W, a controversial constitutional amendment aimed to tighten campaign finance and government disclosure procedures. 45 percent voted yes.

Voters also disapproved of Initiated Measure 25 with a 55 percent vote, which would have increased the state’s tobacco tax with the goal of raising funds for tech schools.

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