CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. — State Rep. Scyller Borglum, R-Rapid City, is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds to represent South Dakota in the U.S. Senate come 2021.
After weeks of anticipation, Borglum on Monday, July 1, drove her red pickup on a four-stop tour across South Dakota to announce her 2020 Congressional bid. A first-term state representative, Borglum will be up against Rounds, the incumbent to the seat and former South Dakota governor and legislator.
Borglum was elected to South Dakota's Legislature in 2018. She said Monday that she is hoping to make the jump from state to federal politics because she "see(s) such a staggering deficit in the energy and commitment of the current senator."
"As a South Dakotan, I see somebody who isn't working," Borglum said at her campaign stop in Chamberlain. "Just showing up and voting isn't the same as aggressively pursuing policies that will benefit South Dakota."
She added that the state's Washington delegation is "the smallest it can possibly be," with only one at-large U.S. representative serving alongside two U.S. senators, "which means we need every member of our federal delegation operating at 125% all the time."
Asked why she is challenging Rounds, rather than seeking freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson's House seat, Borglum said the Senate remains in Republican control and she "want(s) to get into the system that could actually get stuff done."
Rob Skjonsberg, a spokesperson for Rounds' 2020 re-election campaign said in a Monday written statement that Rounds is "known as a reformer with serious policy chops," and that his "overall conservative credentials are top two in the 2014 class."
"Typically a GOP primary challenge comes from the right," Skjonsberg said. "A challenge from the left is bizarre and that would be the case here."
Borglum listed three policy priorities Monday: reducing the size of government, as well as health care and immigration reform. She said she is against Medicare for All and that the Affordable Care Act is "anything but affordable," and voiced support for a southern border wall.
In a Monday statement, South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Paula Hawks said Borglum's primary challenge "shows Rounds's vulnerability."
"Mike Rounds has spent his time in Washington following the other Senate Republicans in consistently putting the needs of millionaires and billionaires, large corporations, and special interests ahead of South Dakota families," Hawks said, pointing to health care policy and President Donald Trump's trade war.
Citing her career as an engineer, Borglum said Monday, "My training is to look at trends, options, data, and most importantly measurable results.
"This is what I see very clearly: Mike Rounds and Washington, D.C. have stopped delivering measurable results for the things that matter most for South Dakota."