55 Facts About John Thune


John Randolph Thune is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from South Dakota, a seat he has held since 2005.


John Thune has worked in politics and civic organizations since completing his MBA degree.


John Thune is known for his defeat of sitting Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle in 2004.


John Thune served as the Senate Republican Conference chair, the third-ranking position in the Senate, from 2012 to 2019.


John Thune was born in Pierre, South Dakota, the son of Yvonne Patricia and Harold Richard John Thune.


Harold John Thune was a fighter pilot in the Pacific theater during World War II who flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat; he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after shooting down four enemy planes.


John Thune's maternal grandfather was from Ontario, Canada, and his mother was born in Saskatchewan.


John Thune was a star athlete in high school, active in basketball, track, and football.


John Thune graduated from Jones County High School in 1979.


John Thune played college basketball at Biola University in California, from which he graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business.


John Thune received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota in 1984.


John Thune worked as a legislative aide for US Senator James Abdnor from 1985 to 1987.


In 1989, John Thune moved to Pierre, where he served as executive director of the state Republican Party for two years.


John Thune began his political career in 1996 by entering the race for South Dakota's lone seat in the US House of Representatives.


John Thune won his subsequent races for US House by wide margins.


In 2002, after briefly considering a run for governor, John Thune set his sights on a run for the US Senate.


In 2002, Thune challenged incumbent Democratic US Senator Tim Johnson.


In 2004 John Thune challenged Tom Daschle, the United States Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Senate Democrats.


South Dakota native Tom Brokaw commented that John Thune "ran a very strong campaign" to win the 2004 race.


John Thune was re-elected 2010 without any opposition in either the primary or general elections.


In 2016 John Thune faced Democratic candidate Jay Williams, Chair of the Yankton County Democratic Party.


John Thune "drew the wrath of Donald Trump for pushing back on the former president's false claims" that he won the 2020 presidential election.


John Thune received negative feedback from Trump supporters for his position on the 2020 election.


On December 6,2006, John Thune was chosen by Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott to be the GOP's Chief Deputy Whip.


In March 2009, John Thune was one of 14 senators to vote against a procedural move that essentially guaranteed a major expansion of a national service corps.


John Thune was elected Republican Conference Chairman in 2011, taking office in January 2012.


John Thune has served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 2009 until the present time and was vice chairman of the Republican Conference from 2008 to 2009 and the Republican chief deputy whip from 2006 to 2008.


John Thune was praised in a 2010 Weekly Standard profile as an exceptional politician who was, unlike many of his colleagues, able to communicate traditional conservatism, making him a popular alternative to Tea Party representatives.


In June 2018, John Thune called on Special Counsel Robert Mueller to "start winding" down his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.


John Thune serves as minority whip in the 117th Congress.


In December 2017, John Thune was one of six senators to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting their "help in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the 340B program", a rule mandating that drug companies give discounts to health-care organizations presently serving large numbers of low-income patients.


In January 2019, John Thune introduced legislation to repeal the estate tax, which applies to couples with estates above $22 million.


In February 2019, John Thune was one of 20 senators to sponsor the Employer Participation in Repayment Act, enabling employers to contribute up to $5,250 to their employees' student loans.


In March 2019, John Thune joined all Senate Republicans, three Democrats, and Angus King in voting against the Green New Deal resolution.


In May 2016, John Thune sent Facebook a letter requesting details on how it operates its Trending Topics feature.


In November 2006, John Thune said he believed the US could win the Iraq War through stability.


In December 2010, John Thune was one of 26 senators who voted against the ratification of New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation obliging both countries to have no more than 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers deployed during the next seven years, and providing for a continuation of on-site inspections that halted when START I expired the previous year.


In September 2016, Thune was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry advocating that the United States use "all available tools to dissuade Russia from continuing its airstrikes in Syria" from an Iranian airbase near Hamadan and stating that the airstrikes violated "a legally binding Security Council Resolution" on Iran.


In March 2018, John Thune voted to table a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required President Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.


John Thune called on European partners to make robust contributions to help Ukraine.


John Thune was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the American Health Care Act behind closed doors.


John Thune is a strong advocate of gun rights, sponsoring legislation that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits to use such permits as a valid permit in other states.


John Thune voted against banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.


On October 3,2017, John Thune became the center of media attention for his response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.


In March 2016, about seven months before the next presidential election, John Thune declared his opposition to considering President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, saying, "the next president should make this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court" because the "American people deserve to have their voices heard on the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice".


In September 2020, less than two months before the next presidential election, John Thune supported an immediate vote on Trump's nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.


In January 2018 John Thune was one of 36 Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st century.


In July 2018, as the Trump administration pushed for aid for agricultural producers affected by retaliatory tariffs, John Thune stated that the plan offered a "false and short-term" sense of security and cited the importance of fair and free trade for farmers in South Dakota.


In December 2020, John Thune made national news when he said that he opposed any further efforts to challenge the 2020 presidential election results.


John Thune argued that such efforts would "go down like a shot dog" in the Senate.


On May 28,2021, John Thune voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the January 6 capitol riot.


On February 22,2011, John Thune announced he would not run in 2012.


John Thune married Kimberley Weems of Doland, South Dakota in 1984.


John Thune is physically active and has frequently competed in running events.


John Thune is a fan of the bands Styx, Journey, Boston, and the Doobie Brothers.