United States Senate election in South Dakota, 2002

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United States Senate election in South Dakota, 2002
South Dakota
1996 ←
November 5, 2002 → 2008

  Tim Johnson official portrait, 2009.jpg John Thune official photo.jpg
Nominee Tim Johnson John Thune
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 167,481 166,957
Percentage 49.62% 49.47%


County results

U.S. Senator before election

Tim Johnson

Elected U.S. Senator

Tim Johnson

The 2002 United States Senate election in South Dakota was held on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Johnson won re-election to a second term by a margin of 524 votes.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tim Johnson (inc.) 65,438 94.84
Democratic Herman Eilers 3,558 5.16
Total votes 68,996 100.00

General election[edit]



Thune, who was considered a rising star in his party, ran against Tim Johnson, who narrowly won his first senate election in 1996. Thune launched a television advertising campaign mentioning al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, contending that both are seeking nuclear weapons and that this country needs a missile defense system, something Johnson voted against 29 times and that Thune supports. The incumbent attacked Thune for politicizing national security.[2] President George W. Bush campaigned for Thune in late October.[3] More than $20 million was spent in the election. Both candidates had raised over $5 million each.[4]


General election results[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tim Johnson (inc.) 167,481 49.62% -1.70%
Republican John Thune 166,949 49.47% +0.79%
Libertarian Kurt Evans 3,070 0.91%
Majority 532 0.15% -2.49%
Turnout 334,438
Democratic hold Swing