Tapio plans to be fourth candidate for U.S. House

President Donald Trump soon might have a supporter seeking the Republican nomination for South Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

State Sen. Neal Tapio of Watertown said in a conversation Tuesday outside the Capitol in Pierre he is preparing to run.

Tapio is a businessman who was elected to the Legislature for the first time last year.

Describing himself as “an outsider candidate” who likely wouldn’t be attractive to established Republican donors, Tapio said he’ll put $300,000 of his money into his candidacy.

He would enter a contest where two statewide winners are already running for the Republican nomination.

They are former state Public Utilities Commission member Dusty Johnson of Mitchell and current Secretary of State Shantel Krebs of Fort Pierre.

At least one Democrat also is actively campaigning. He is Tim Bjorkman of Canistota, a recently retired judge.

The seat is open because U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem is running for the Republican nomination for the governor. She defeated Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in 2010 and won re-election three times.

Noem is competing against several other Republicans to be the party’s candidate on the 2018 general election ballot, including state Attorney General Marty Jackley, former state Rep. Lora Hubbel and Terry LaFleur.

The Democratic candidate for governor is state Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke.

A Tapio candidacy for U.S. House would mean Republicans get to nominate someone else for the legislative district’s Senate seat in 2018.

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