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State Rep. Taffy Howard expected to announce bid for US Congress

Howard is likely to make an announcement regarding a primary challenge against current US Congressman Dusty Johnson.
(Nick Nelson)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:17 PM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - A current South Dakota state legislator is expected to make a run at South Dakota’s lone Congressional seat in 2022.

State Rep. Taffy Howard (R-Rapid City) is likely to make an announcement in the coming weeks about a Republican primary run against current U.S. Congressman Dusty Johnson, several people with knowledge of the situation tell Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory.

Howard has served in the South Dakota State House since 2016, representing District 33. Howard is viewed as one of the more conservative members of the state legislature, who has developed a reputation for her willingness to break ranks with the party. During the 2021 state legislative session, Howard drew the ire of Gov. Noem’s office for her sponsorship of a bill that would have required the governor’s security costs to be public. Howard was also a vocal opponent of Noem’s decision to veto the controversial “transgender sports bill” last session.

In recent weeks, Howard has begun to appeal to the more conservative faction of Republicans in the state. Last week, Howard spoke at an “American First” Rally in Sioux Falls, sponsored in part by a group named “Primary John Thune in 2022.” Thune has already drawn two primary opponents, Mark Mowry and Bruce Whalen.

When reached for comment, Howard said that she was “exploring all possibilities.”

Johnson was first elected to the at-large seat in 2018, defeating two Republicans in a three-way primary. He was challenged in the 2020 primary by State Rep. Liz May (R-Kyle)- though he did not face a Democratic opponent in 2020, and cruised to an 80% victory over a third-party Libertarian candidate.

The 2022 primary elections are set to take place on June 7, 2022.