|U.S. Senate, South Dakota|
|January 3, 2017|
|Years in position||10|
|Predecessor||Thomas A. Daschle (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|First elected||November 2, 2004|
|Next general||November 8, 2016|
|Representative, U. S. House of Representatives|
|Bachelor's||Biola University, 1983|
|Master's||University of South Dakota, 1984|
|Date of birth||January 7, 1961|
|Place of birth||Pierre, S.D.|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Career
- 3 Committee assignments
- 4 Key votes
- 4.1 113th Congress
- 4.2 Previous congressional sessions
- 5 Issues
- 6 Elections
- 7 Campaign donors
- 8 Personal Gain Index
- 9 Analysis
- 10 Recent news
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Thune is one of the most reliable Republican votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Republican Party in Congress.
In 1983, Thune received his bachelor's degree from Biola University in La Mirada, California. He earned his MBA from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion in 1984. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Thune served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Below is an abbreviated outline of Thune's academic, professional and political career:
- 2005-Present: U.S. Senator from South Dakota
- 1997-2003: Member of the United States House of Representatives
- 1993-1996: Served as director, South Dakota State Municipal League
- 1991-1993: Served as director, South Dakota State Railroad Division
- 1989-1991: Served as director, South Dakota State Republican Party
- 1985-1986: Worked on the staff of United States Senator James Abdnor of South Dakota
Thune serves on the following committees:
- Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee
- Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Chairman
- Finance Committee
Thune served on the following Senate committees:
- Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research
- Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
- Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation
- Commerce, Science and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Science and Space
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- The Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
- The Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
- The Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight
Thune served on the following Senate committees:
The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session. The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Thune's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.
John Brennan CIA nomination
Thune voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.
On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill. It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states. Thune joined with 19 other Republican senators in favor of the bill.
On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014. The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations. It increased the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel by 1 percent, increased Head Start funding for early childhood education by $1 billion, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts.
No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
Thune voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.
- See also: United States budget debate, 2013
During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies. The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Thune voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.
Thune voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.
Violence Against Women (2013)
Thune voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.
Previous congressional sessions
Thune voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003, while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.
On The Issues Vote Match
- See also: On The Issues Vote Match
On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Thune is a Hard-Core Conservative. Thune received a score of 6 percent on social issues and 78 percent on economic issues.
The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.
|On The Issues Vote Quiz|
|Economic Issues||Social Issues|
|Legally require hiring women & minorities||Strongly Opposes||Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right||Strongly Opposes|
|Expand ObamaCare||Strongly Opposes||Comfortable with same-sex marriage||Strongly Opposes|
|Vouchers for school choice||Opposes||Keep God in the public sphere||Strongly Favors|
|Absolute right to gun ownership||Favors||Human needs over animal rights||Opposes|
|Higher taxes on the wealthy||Strongly Opposes||Stricter punishment reduces crime||Strongly Favors|
|Support & expand free trade||Favors||Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens||Strongly Opposes|
|Stricter limits on political campaign funds||Favors||Maintain US sovereignty from UN||Opposes|
|Prioritize green energy||Strongly Opposes||Expand the military||Favors|
|Stimulus better than market-led recovery||Strongly Opposes||Stay out of Iran||Strongly Opposes|
|Privatize Social Security||Favors||Never legalize marijuana||Strongly Favors|
|Note: Information last updated: 2014. If you notice the rating has changed, email us.|
Letter to Iran
On March 9, 2015, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote a letter to Iran's leadership, warning them that signing a nuclear deal with the Obama administration without congressional approval was merely an "executive agreement." The letter also stated that "The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time." The letter was signed by 47 Republican members of the Senate. Thune was one of the 47 who signed the letter. No Democrats signed it.
The letter caused intense backlash from both the Obama administration and the public. Vice President Joe Biden said of the letter, "In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them." On Twitter, the hashtag "47Traitors" became the top trending topic in the world, and a debate raged as to whether the 47 who signed the letter were traitors or patriots.
On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists were critical of President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."
|U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2010|
|Republican||John Thune Incumbent||100%||227,947|
The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Thune attends.
Comprehensive donor history
Comprehensive donor information for Thune is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Thune raised a total of $35,502,100 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 25, 2013.
|John Thune's Campaign Contribution History|
|2010||U.S. Senate (South Dakota)||$12,518,942|
|2004||U.S. Senate (South Dakota)||$16,247,089|
|2002||U.S. Senate (South Dakota)||$5,514,226|
|2000||U.S. House (South Dakota, At-large district)||$1,221,843|
|Grand Total Raised||$35,502,100|
Thune won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Thune's campaign committee raised a total of $12,518,942 and spent $5,382,436.
|U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2010 - John Thune Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Total Spent by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Top contributors to John Thune's campaign committee|
|Blue Cross/Blue Shield||$31,500|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Securities & Investment||$354,874|
Personal Gain Index
- See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)
- See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)
The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:
- Changes in Net Worth
- The Donation Concentration Metric
- The K-Street Metric
- The Stock Oversight and Trades Metric
PGI: Change in net worth
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Thune's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $173,019 to $596,000. That averages to $384,509.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senate members in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Thune ranked as the 87th most wealthy senator in 2012. Between 2004 and 2012, Thune‘s calculated net worth decreased by an average of 5 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.
|John Thune Yearly Net Worth|
|Year||Average Net Worth|
|Growth from 2004 to 2012:||-39%|
|Average annual growth:||-5%|
|Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.|
PGI: Donation Concentration Metric
Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by OpenSecrets.org, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Thune received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Retired industry.
From 1995-2014, 19.01 percent of Thune's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.
|John Thune Campaign Contributions|
|Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Securities & Investment||$1,404,720|
|% total in top industry||7.56%|
|% total in top two industries||11.04%|
|% total in top five industries||19.01%|
The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.
Thune most often votes with:
Thune least often votes with:
Ideology and leadership
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, Thune missed 40 of 3,031 roll call votes from January 2005 to July 2014. This amounts to 1.3 percent, which is better than the median of 2.0 percent among current senators as of July 2014.
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Thune paid his congressional staff a total of $2,484,199 in 2011. He ranked 28th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 38th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, South Dakota ranked 16th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.
National Journal vote ratings
- See also: National Journal vote ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.
Thune ranked 17th in the conservative rankings in 2013.
Thune ranked 21st in the conservative rankings in 2012.
Thune ranked 24th in the conservative rankings in 2011.
Voting with party
The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.
John Thune voted with the Republican Party 93.2 percent of the time, which ranked 3rd among the 45 Senate Republican members as of August 2014.
John Thune voted with the Republican Party 93.3 percent of the time, which ranked 3rd among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term John + Thune + South Dakota + Senate
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- United States Senate
- United States Senate elections in South Dakota, 2014
- United States congressional delegations from South Dakota
- Social media:
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Works by or about:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "John Thune," accessed November 4, 2011
- United States Senate, "Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress," accessed February 17, 2015
- Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
- ABA.com, "Senate Republican Committee Assignments for the 112th Congress," accessed August 16, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
- New York Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
- Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
- U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
- Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
- On The Issues, "Thune Vote Match," accessed July 7, 2014
- The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
- The Wall Street Journal, "Text of GOP Senators’ Letter to Iran’s Leaders on Nuclear Talks," March 9, 2015
- Fox News, "Firestorm erupts over GOP letter challenging Obama's power to approve Iran nuclear deal," March 10, 2015
- Ut San Diego, "Traitors or patriots? Senator's letter to Iran creates firestorm," March 11, 2015
- CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
- USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
- ABC News, "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
- The Blaze, "Here Are All the GOP Senators That Participated in Rand Paul’s 12+ Hour Filibuster… and the Ones Who Didn’t," March 7, 2013
- Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
- Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
- Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
- Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
- The Hill, "2012 GOP Lawmaker Endorsements for President," accessed November 23, 2011
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
- Open Secrets, "Donor history for John Thune," accessed April 25, 2013
- Open Secrets, "John Thune 2010 Election Cycle," accessed November 4, 2011
- OpenSecrets, "Thune, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
- This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
- This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
- This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
- This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
- OpenSecrets.org, "Sen. John Thune," accessed October 2, 2014
- OpenCongress, "John Thune," accessed September 2, 2014
- GovTrack, "John Thune," accessed September 2, 2014
- GovTrack, "John Thune," accessed July 2, 2013
- GovTrack, "Thune," accessed September 2, 2014
- LegiStorm, "John Thune," accessed August 6, 2012
- National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," September 2, 2014
- National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
- National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
|U.S. Senate - South Dakota
| Succeeded by|
|United States House of Representatives - South Dakota
| Succeeded by|
William J. Janklow
State of South Dakota
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Secretary of Education | Director of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor | Chairman of Public Utilities |