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I’m David Johnson. I’m a Republican candidate for South Dakota’s District 33 Senate. In recent days, I’ve been the target of criticism for refusing to answer questions about my opponent in this race.

I decided years ago that I’d someday run for public office. My business now permits me to do so. I feel obligated to my community; it’s treated my family and our operations graciously for 50 years. That same feeling of obligation is why I joined the Air Force years ago.

I’m a lifelong Black Hills resident with a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and a master’s degree from the University of South Dakota. My wife of 28 years and I have three daughters, each educated in the public and higher education schools of South Dakota. I offer a driven dedication to District 33.

It’s not about my opponent.

In February I received South Dakota’s “New Candidate’s Guidebook” published by the Secretary of State. The first line asks: “Are you thinking of running for office in South Dakota?” It doesn’t ask: “Are you thinking about campaigning against another candidate in South Dakota?”

Our election laws do not describe elections as one candidate versus another, or mandate that candidates engage in malicious verbal battle.

I’m frequented with questions as to my opinion about the other candidate. I believe the voters in District 33 will ultimately answer those questions themselves. For the record, I’m campaigning for a Senate seat that is open by state law to public election every two years. I am not and will not be campaigning against anyone.

Indeed there is another candidate in this Republican primary. I’m disturbed by both his past and recent public statements. His pattern of public announcements has made local and national headlines, resulting in an unprecedented apology from our governor on behalf of the citizens of South Dakota. What alarms me most about the other candidate’s views is the possibility that he may actually believe what he’s saying.

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To be an effective legislator, it is of paramount importance to be tolerant and non-judgmental. District 33 deserves better.

In my tree business, I bid against my competitors for a contract. Never in 34 years of bidding have I been asked to bash competitors or voice opinions as to their tactics. The contract is awarded to the business that meets specifications and offers the best all-around deal. I’ll run my campaign the same way I’ve run my business for the last one-third century.

I’m committed to taking my campaign along the high road, separating myself from questions about the other candidate via the “no comment” path. I’ve refused to partake in the mudslinging game that’s so attractive to the antagonists and headline chasers. Expect further “no comment” if questions are not issue-oriented or germane to District 33 residents.

My campaign will broadcast my vision and get the facts out through position papers, candidate forums and public issue discussions. District 33 Republican voters have the opportunity to place a thoughtful, tolerant, conservative candidate, businessman, family man and former military officer on November’s general election ballot.

I’m a candidate for South Dakota’s District 33 Senate. Don’t ask me about the other guy.

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