Joseph H. Bottum

Joseph Henry Bottum (August 7, 1903 – July 4, 1984) was an American politician. He served as the 27th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota and as a member of the United States Senate from South Dakota.

Joseph H. Bottum
United States Senator
from South Dakota
In office
July 9, 1962 – January 3, 1963
Appointed byArchie M. Gubbrud
Preceded byFrancis H. Case
Succeeded byGeorge McGovern
27th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 3, 1961 – July 9, 1962
GovernorArchie M. Gubbrud
Preceded byJohn F. Lindley
Succeeded byNils Boe
Personal details
Joseph Henry Bottum

(1903-08-07)August 7, 1903
Faulkton, South Dakota
DiedJuly 4, 1984(1984-07-04) (aged 80)
Rapid City, South Dakota
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of South Dakota School of Law

Early lifeEdit

Bottum was born in Faulkton, South Dakota and was educated in the public schools of Faulkton. His paternal grandfather, Henry C. Bottum, had been a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, his maternal grandfather, Darius S. Smith, had been a member of the South Dakota Senate and his father, Joseph H. Bottum, was also a member of the South Dakota Senate. He attended Yankton College and the University of South Dakota (1920–1921). He graduated from the law school of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1927.[1] He was admitted to the bar in 1927 and commenced the practice of law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and later, Faulkton, South Dakota.[2]


Shortly after beginning his legal practice in Faulkton, Bottum was elected Faulk County State's Attorney in 1932, and was re-elected in 1934. He was appointed State Director of Taxation in 1937.[2] In 1942, Bottum unsuccessfully ran for Governor, losing the Republican primary to Merrell Q. Sharpe.[3] Bottum resigned from state government in 1943 to accept a position with the Board of Economic Warfare.[4] In 1944, Bottum resigned from the Board and successfully ran for Pennington County State's Attorney;[5] he was re-elected in 1946.[6] In 1948, Bottum was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of South Dakota.[7] In 1950, Bottum ran for Congress from South Dakota's 2nd congressional district, but lost in the Republican primary to Ellis Berry.

He was elected Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota in 1960, and served in Governor Archie M. Gubbrud's administration from 1961 to 1962. In 1962, following the death of U.S. Senator Francis H. Case, Governor Gubbrud appointed him to the Senate for the remainder of Case's term; separately, the state Republican Party named him as the replacement for Case on the ballot in the 1962 election. Case faced former U.S. Congressman George McGovern in the general election, and narrowly lost re-election, falling short by just 597 votes, or 0.23% of the vote.

Judicial serviceEdit

The son of Joseph Henry Bottum Sr. (1853–1946), circuit judge in Faulkton, South Dakota, from 1911 to 1942,[8] Bottum followed his father onto the court, serving from 1965 to 1980 as a South Dakota circuit judge. Among the trials over which he presided was the controversial prosecution of the Native American activist Russell Means by then-Attorney General Bill Janklow.[9]

Death and legacyEdit

Bottum was a resident of Rapid City, South Dakota, until his death. He is interred at Pine Lawn Cemetery in Rapid City, South Dakota.


  1. ^ "BOTTUM, Joseph H., (1903 - 1984)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Joe Bottum, Millard Scott Announce Candidacies for G. O. P. Governor Nomination". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. December 29, 1941. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  3. ^ "Sharpe Wins GOP Nomination for Governor". Deadwood Pioneer-Times. Deadwood, S.D. June 9, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  4. ^ "Nord May Be Tax Director". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, S.D. June 14, 1943. p. 5. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Only Two Contests In Sight For Pennington". Rapid City Journal. Rapid City, S.D. April 3, 1944. p. 2. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "Officials Vote Tally Complete". Rapid City Journal. Rapid City, S.D. November 14, 1946. p. 2. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "Bottum Beats Noble For State GOP Chairmanship". Mitchell Daily Republic. Mitchell, S.D. February 2, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Official Fifth Circuit list of Judges
  9. ^ Edward J. Reilly, Legends of American Indian Resistance, p. 290

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from South Dakota
Served alongside: Karl E. Mundt
Succeeded by
George McGovern