That didn’t take long.

A South Dakota Democrat who announced plans to run for Congress on Wednesday dropped out a day later, after his old Twitter posts came to light and raised eyebrows—and then some—in the prairie state.

Ryan Ryder, who planned to challenge GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson, emailed a statement announcing he was leaving the race after a single day. He apologized for the posts, which included fantasizing about creating a cartoon video of killing Johnson’s family, another one wishing Jan. 6, 2021, rioters had gotten their hands on the Republican congressman, and a third alluding to his masturbating to a photo of Gov. Kristi Noem.

It’s the latest bizarro setback for a state Democratic Party that has found itself in the wilderness in recent years.

On Nov. 17, 2021, Ryder—whose LinkedIn describes him as a dad and attorney—tweeted a post suggesting he might create an animated video of him murdering Johnson’s family.

Ryder also criticized Johnson, a Republican in his second term, for describing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol as a “dark day” while also saying he would not vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“You are a complete and utter fraud,” Ryder tweeted. “It’s too bad that the Trump rioters that you continue to support didn’t get you that day.”

Ryder also commented on a tweet showing Gov. Kristi Noem in a typical pose: carrying a flag while riding a horse. He criticized her spokesman, Ian Fury, for posting it, sarcastically saying it was something he could masturbate to while believing “any load of crap he throws my way.”

By Wednesday night, Ryder had deleted his Twitter account. But at first, South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Berk Ehrmantraut said the party still supported Ryder.

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

By Thursday afternoon, the state party had reversed itself.

“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 in a statement posted on the party website

“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,” said SDDP Chair Randy Seiler.

For its part, South Dakota Republican Party Chair Dan Lederman said Ryder was “a contemptible candidate” and the SDDP was wrong to support him in the first place.

“If he is going to run for office, Ryder needs to figure out which of his faces he’s going to be talking out of,” Lederman said in a statement to Dakota News Now. “The one which says he is ‘not interested in personal attacks or mudslinging,’ or the one which says it was ‘too bad’ rioters didn’t get Dusty Johnson on January 6th.”

On Thursday afternoon, Ryder dropped out and apologized for the posts.

“I am withdrawing my candidacy for US House of Representatives.” he said in an email to reporters.

“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.”

He declined to speak to The Daily Beast when reached for comment.

“Thank you, but not today,” Ryder said in an email. “For the moment, please rely on my email statement and the SDDP press release.”

Johnson’s communication director, Jasmine Kent, said the congressman had no comment.

“His tweets speak for themselves,” Kent told The Daily Beast.

South Dakota Democrats last won a statewide race in 2008. Noem unseated Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in 2010. When Noem left Congress after four terms to run for governor in 2018, Johnson, a former chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Public Utilities Commission member, ran for and won the state’s lone congressional seat.



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