John Thune

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 00:57, 20 February 2014 by Jlhaas (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
John Thune
John Thune.jpg
U.S. Senate, South Dakota
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 9
PredecessorThomas A. Daschle (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2004
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Representative, U. S. House of Representatives
Bachelor'sBiola University, 1983
Master'sUniversity of South Dakota, 1984
BirthdayJanuary 7, 1961
Place of birthPierre, SD
Net worth$384,509.50
Office website
Campaign website
John Thune (b. January 7, 1961, in Pierre, South Dakota) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of South Dakota. Thune was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Thune served in the U.S. House of Representatives.[1]

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 from Biola University in La Mirada, California. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion in 1984.[1]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Thune's academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1985-1986: Worked on the staff of United States Senator James Abdnor of South Dakota
  • 1989-1991: Held a position as South Dakota state Republican party executive director
  • 1991-1993: Served as director, South Dakota state railroad division
  • 1993-1996: Served as director, South Dakota state municipal league
  • 1997-2003: Served as a Republican in the U.S. Congress
  • 2005-Present: U.S Senator from South Dakota

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Thune serves on the following Senate committees[2]:

  • 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
  • Finance
    • 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:[3]


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1%) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14% of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[4] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8%). For more information pertaining to Thune's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[5]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" 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.[6]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

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.[7][8][9]

Thune was 1 of the 13 Republican senators who joined Paul in his filibuster.[10][11]

According to the website Breitbart, 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.[12][13]

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."[14]


Farm bill

Voted "Yes" 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.[15] 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.[16] Thune joined with 19 other Republican senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Voted "No" 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.[17][18] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[18] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[19] It included a 1% increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Thune voted with 25 other Republican members against the bill.[17][18]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" 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.[20]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 funds 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.[21] 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.[22]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "Yes" 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.[23]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "No" 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.[24]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" 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 a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[25]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

John Thune endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [26]



On November 2, 2010, Thune won re-election to the United States Senate. He ran unopposed in the general election.[27]

U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Thune Incumbent 100% 227,947
Total Votes 227,947

Full history

Campaign donors

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.[32]

John Thune's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate (South Dakota) Won $12,518,942
2004 U.S. Senate (South Dakota) Won $16,247,089
2002 U.S. Senate (South Dakota) Won $5,514,226
2000 US House (South Dakota, At-large district) Won $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.[33]

U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2010 - John Thune Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $12,518,942
Total Spent $5,382,436
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
Crow Holdings$29,050
DM&E Railroad$25,400
Sanford Health$23,947
Xcel Energy$23,650
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Securities & Investment$354,874
Real Estate$311,403


Like-minded colleagues

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.[34]

Thune most often votes with:

Thune least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Thune is a "far-right Republican leader," as of July 2, 2013.[35]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Thune missed 37 of 2,578 roll call votes from January 2005 to April 2013. This amounts to 1.4%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of April 2013.[36]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

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 ranks 28th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranks 38th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, South Dakota ranks 16th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[37]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, 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.[38]

John Thune Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

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. Thune ranked 21st in the conservative rankings in 2012.[39]


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. Thune ranked 24th in the conservative rankings.[40]

Political positions

Voting with party


The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, John Thune has voted with the Republican Party 93.3% of the time, which ranked 3rd among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[41]

Recent news

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.

John Thune News Feed

  • Loading...


Thune and his wife, Kimberley, have two children.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Biographical Director of the United States Congress "John Thune," Accessed November 4, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  3., "Senate Republican Committee Assignments for the 112th Congress," accessed August 16, 2013
  4. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  5. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  6. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  7. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  8. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  9. ABC News, "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
  10. 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
  11. Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
  12. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
  13. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  14. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  15., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  16. New York Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  19. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  20. 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
  21. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  22., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  24. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  25. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  26. The Hill, "2012 GOP Lawmaker Endorsements for President," retrieved November 23, 2011
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  32. Open Secrets "Donor history for John Thune" Accessed April 25, 2013
  33. Open Secrets "John Thune 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 4, 2011
  34. OpenCongress, "John Thune," Accessed august 8, 2013
  35. Gov Track "John Thune," Accessed July 2, 2013
  36. GovTrack, "Thune," Accessed April 11, 2013
  37. LegiStorm "John Thune"
  38. "Thune, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  39. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  40. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  41. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed June 6, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom Daschle
U.S. Senate - South Dakota
Succeeded by