Democrat forced to end campaign after just one day over disturbing tweets targeting Republicans, including Gov. Kristi Noem

Democrat Ryan Ryder announced last week that he was running for Congress. Just one day later, Ryder folded his campaign after disturbing social media posts surfaced.

What happened?

Ryder, an Air Force veteran and lawyer, announced last Wednesday that he was running for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district, which is currently held by Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson.

However, just hours after his announcement, Ryder came under intense scrutiny for several highly disturbing tweets.

Ryan Ryder (Image source: YouTube screenshot

In one tweet from November 2021, Ryder said, “Thinking about making an animated video of me killing @RepDustyJohnson ‘s family, and then saying it was just a joke.” In another tweet on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, Ryder told Johnson, “It’s too bad the Trump rioters that you continue to support didn’t get you that day.”

In another tweet, from July 2021, Ryder joked (apparently) about masturbating to a picture of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R).

After the tweets were dredged up, Ryder emphasized that most were jokes and said that context is key for properly understanding them.

“A lot of these were basically just biting sarcasm, just flippant and rude. A lot of these had important context on them,” he said, KSFY-TV reported. “Almost all these were either biting sarcasm seeking a response from our elected officials, trying to get them to take an issue more seriously. Trying to get them to not blow off their constituents. … Why are they not responding to critical issues with the office that they hold?”

The South Dakota Democratic Party even released an announcement initially standing by Ryder.

“Ryan’s lifetime of service and commitment to his community speaks louder than some poorly-worded tweets,” Berk Ehrmantraut, executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, said. “I expect Ryan to be the Democratic nominee for Congress.”

Why did he end the campaign?

Despite the party pledging support for his campaign, Ryder ended his campaign last Thursday and issued an apology.

“I am withdrawing my candidacy for US House of Representatives,” he said. “While tweets I have made in the past were a poor attempt at sarcastic humor, I recognize that they appear to cross a line. I regret that I chose to express myself that way. I apologize specifically to the state party and anyone else for whom these tweets reflected badly.”

The SDDP later said party officials had asked Ryder to resign.

“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,” Ehrmantraut said.

“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 chairman Randy Seiler added.



Chris Enloe