A Black Hills candidate who wants to unseat South Dakota Sen. John Thune in next year's Republican primary says he demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 against President Joe Biden's victory.
Mark Mowry, of Spearfish, says his candidacy is fueled by Thune's unwillingness to question the validity of the presidential election.
Mowry told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that he participated in demonstrations near Capitol Hill the day Congress was set to confirm the results of the Nov. 3 election, but he was not part of the riots that broke out and led to protesters storming the Capitol.
"It's not something I'd normally do, because I don't consider myself much of a political activist," Mowry said of his decision to head east in January. "But I was not in the Capitol. That's a trespassing issue. And that never should have happened."
Mowry is among skeptics who don't believe former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
Mowry and other far-right Trump supporters have targeted Thune after the senator made public statements dismissing allegations of widespread voter fraud. Trump used social media to call Thune a "RINO," Republican In Name Only, and speculated that his Senate career is "over."
The U.S. Justice Department under Trump said there was no evidence that Biden did not fairly and legally win the presidency.
Mowry is one of at least two West River Republicans challenging Thune in the June 2022 primaries. Patrick Schubert Sr., of Box Elder, announced his candidacy on Aug. 24, but has yet to file with the Federal Elections Commission. Mowry announced his candidacy in May and filed committee information with the FEC on June 7.
Both candidates share a sense of dissatisfaction that Thune did not support overturning the 2020 election results in favor of Trump.
“Post election John said that efforts to overturn the election 'would go down like a shot dog.' So, if true, massive election fraud would be akin to Old Yeller and we should just dig a hole, throw in the carcass and close the hole," Schubert said in a press release. "That is not Protecting our Voter Integrity [sic]. When the digital Nazis came for our voice, John didn’t protect our Freedom of Speech [sic]. John has been silent on many topics that when ignored have allowed the Democrats to run rough shot [sic] over the Bill of Rights. Nothing done since Biden’s Inauguration has been done to preserve this Republic and John appears OK with that.”