South Dakota Democratic candidate withdraws from race following scrutiny of past tweets

A Democratic congressional candidate in South Dakota is withdrawing his candidacy at the request of the South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP) in light of scrutiny he is facing for past tweets he made about several South Dakota Republicans, including Rep. Dusty Johnson and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

The South Dakota Democratic Party announced in a release on Thursday that South Dakota House candidate Ryan Ryder (D) is withdrawing his candidacy. 

“The South Dakota Democratic Party has determined it is not appropriate for Mr. Ryder to continue in this race and requested that he end his candidacy, which he has agreed to,” the party’s Executive Director Berk Ehrmantraut said in a statement.

The announcement comes as several news outlets reported about tweets that Ryder made through a personal Twitter account previously, which targeted several Republicans in the state. 

In one tweet, he speculates about making an animated video showing him killing the family of Johnson and in another he jokes about performing sexual acts to a picture of the South Dakota governor, Dakota News Now reported.

“A lot of these were basically just biting sarcasm, just flippant and rude,” Ryder told Dakota News Now. “A lot of these had important context on them.”

Speaking to The Associated Press, the Democratic candidate claimed that his tweet musing about making a video about Johnson’s family was made following the South Dakota Republican voting not to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Gosar made his own animated video showing him violently attacking President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Ryder’s personal Twitter account has been deactivated, the AP noted. The Hill could not immediately access Ryder’s campaign website, nor could he be reached immediately for comment.

“These statements from Mr. Ryder do not live up to the values of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and we do not support this type of language,” SDDP Chair Randy Seiler said in a statement on Thursday. 

South Dakota Republican Party also condemned Ryder’s tweets.

The Hill has reached out to the South Dakota Republican Party for comment. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dusty Johnson Joe Biden Kristi Noem Kristi Noem Paul Gosar Ryan Ryder South Dakota
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