10 Things You Didn't Know About John Thune

Thune is pushing to allow 'concealed carry' to cross state lines.

By + More

Thune replaced Sen. John Ensign as chair of the Republican Policy Committee

  1. John Thune was born Jan. 7, 1961, in Pierre, S.D., and raised in neighboring small town Murdo.
  2. During a high school basketball game, Thune made five of six free-throw attempts. The next day, he was greeted by a spectator, Republican Rep. Jim Abdnor, who said, "I noticed you missed one." Thune says this meeting sparked his interest in politics.
  3. In 1983, Thune received his undergraduate degree from Biola University, an evangelical Christian school in Southern California. He received his master's in business administration from the University of South Dakota in 1984.
  4. During the 1980s, Thune worked as a legislative assistant for Abdnor, who was then a senator. Abdnor lost his seat to future Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle in 1986.
  5. In 1996, Thune was elected to South Dakota's only seat in the House of Representatives. He was re-elected in 1998 and 2000.
  6. Thune ran for the Senate in 2002 but lost to Sen. Tim Johnson by 524 votes.
  7. Thune, who served as South Dakota's railroad director from 1991 to 1993, worked as a lobbyist for the Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern Railroad between 2002 and 2004.
  8. In 2004, Thune unseated Daschle in what many political observers deemed a major upset.
  9. Thune endorsed Sen. John McCain in the 2008 Republican primaries. He praised McCain for his family's military tradition, noting that it was Adm. John McCain, the candidate's grandfather, who issued the citation for Thune's grandfather's Distinguished Flying Cross during World War II.
  10. Thune and his wife, Kimberley, have two college-age daughters.


  • Tampa Tribune
  • Grand Rapid Press
  • Washington Post
  • Thune's official Senate biography

Updated 10/5/10: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Sen. Thune's birthplace. He was born in Pierre, S.D.