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2002 South Dakota 2014 ›
United States Senate election in South Dakota, 2008
November 4, 2008
Tim Johnson, official photo as senator.jpg Replace this image male.svg
Nominee Tim Johnson Joel Dykstra
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 237,835 142,766
Percentage 62.49% 37.51%
County Results

Incumbent Senator
Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson

Elections in South Dakota
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The South Dakota Senate Election of 2008 was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic senator Tim Johnson was elected to a third term over Republican challenger Joel Dykstra.

Johnson was considered a Republican target, but his strong recovery from health problems strengthened his popularity which made recruiting strong Republican challengers difficult. The Republican nominee was Joel Dykstra, who won the June 3 primary over challengers Sam Kephart and Charles Lyonel Gonyo.[1] In 2002 Senator Johnson narrowly defeated Republican candidate John Thune by 524 votes; Thune is now a Senator after defeating incumbent Senator Tom Daschle by 4,508 votes in the 2006 general election.

CQ Politics rated the race as 'Safe Democrat'.[2] The Cook Political Report considered it 'Likely Democrat'.[3] The Rothenberg Political Report considered it a 'Safe Democrat'.[4]


Republican primary



  • Joel Dykstra - State Representative
  • Charles Gonyo
  • Sam Kephart


2008 South Dakota U.S. Senate Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Joel Dykstra 34,598 65.7
Republican Sam Kephart 13,047 24.8
Republican Charles Gonyo 4,983 9.5
Turnout 52,628

General election


  • Tim Johnson- incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Joel Dykstra- State Congressman


Poll Source Dates administered Democrat: Tim Johnson Republican: Joel Dykstra
Rasmussen Reports July 15, 2008 60% 38%
Rasmussen Reports March 4, 2008 63% 28%


With 100% reporting, Tim Johnson has been re-elected.[1]

2008 South Dakota U.S. Senate general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tim Johnson 237,889 62.5 +12.9
Republican Joel Dykstra 142,784 37.5 -12.0
Majority 95,105
Turnout 380,673
Democratic hold Swing


External links


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