‘It Was Simply A Hug’: South Dakota House Candidate Charged With Rape After Losing Midterms To Mom

A South Dakota rancher and recent state political candidate is behind bars after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in a bar’s bathroom stall last weekend.

Republican Bud Marty May, 37, who fell short this month in his run for a seat in South Dakota’s House of Representatives, has been jailed on rape charges, NBC News reported.

According to court records, May is accused of using "force, coercion, or threats of immediate and great bodily injury" against the alleged victim, the Kansas City Star reported.

On Nov. 13, authorities said their officers responded to a Pennington County watering hole whereupon they discovered the victim cowering behind the establishment’s bar. The woman, who had blood and a visible abrasion on her face, accused May of raping her several times, a judge said in the Tuesday hearing, per the Argus Leader

She accused May of forcing himself on her inside a bathroom stall at the bar. The victim also disclosed to investigators that the blood found on her belonged to the 37-year-old former Republican hopeful, who she claimed had been involved in a physical altercation prior to the suspected rape, according to the Argus Leader.

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According to the victim, May allegedly told her, “I am 6 feet, 8 inches, white, it is all consensual,” South Dakota television station KOTA-TV reported, citing the case’s complaint. 

May allegedly fled the scene and was later detained by authorities. During his arrest, he insisted “it was simply a hug,” per court documents.

State Capitol building in South Dakota
State Capitol building in South Dakota

State Capitol building in South Dakota Photo: Getty Images

May was booked into Pennington County Jail on Sunday. A trail of blood is visibly smeared under his apparently bruised right eye in the jail’s booking photo, in which the South Dakota rancher can be seen grinning menacingly. 

No other information was immediately released by authorities.

Prior to the alleged incident, May had launched a campaign in which he ran for one of two house seats in South Dakota’s District 27 in the 2022 midterms, per KOTA-TV.

Chris Epps
Chris Epps

He ultimately lost to two candidates, one of them being his mother, Elizabeth May, who collected 26.7 percent of the votes. Bud May, who finished in fourth — and last — place clinched 22.1 percent of the vote. 

May appeared in court via video conference on Nov. 14. The 37-year-old’s bond was subsequently set at $7,500. His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 30 at 11:30 a.m., the Argus Leader reported. If convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Oxygen.com has reached out to May’s lawyer, Matt Kinney, for comment. 

Oxy App
Oxy App

At a court appearance earlier this week, Kinney told the court that May was a rancher and claimed his client had no prior felonies. Prosecutors had initially sought a $10,000 cash only bond.

May, however, also has a pair of existing warrants with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, related to two incidents that occurred in September and October, respectively, per the Argus Leader. Charging information related to the separate cases wasn’t immediately available.