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Mike Rounds

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Mike Rounds
Candidate for
U.S. Senate, South Dakota
Elections and appointments
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
31st Governor of South Dakota
January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011
South Dakota State Senate
1991 – 2001
Bachelor'sSouth Dakota State University, 1977
BirthdayOctober 24, 1954
Place of birthHuron, SD
Campaign website

Marion Michael "Mike" Rounds (born October 24, 1954) served as Governor of South Dakota from January 7, 2003 through January 2011.[1]

Rounds is a 2014 Republican candidate seeking election to the U.S. Senate from South Dakota.[2] Rounds won the Republican nomination in the primary on June 3, 2014.[3]


Rounds is a partner in Fischer Rounds & Associates, an insurance and real estate firm with offices throughout South Dakota. He placed his ownership interest into a blind trust upon being elected governor. Rounds is a member of St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church. He is also a member of numerous service clubs and community organizations, including Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, National Exchange Club, Knights of Columbus and Ducks Unlimited.[4]


  • B.S., political science, South Dakota State University, 1977

Political career

South Dakota Governor (2003-2011)

Abortion ban

On February 22, 2006, the state legislature of South Dakota passed an act banning all medical abortions except those necessary to save the mother's life. Rounds signed the act on March 6, and the ban was to have taken effect on July 1, 2006. The ban did not take effect because of a court challenge. A referendum for a potential repeal of H.B. 1215 was placed on the ballot for the November 2006 statewide election, due to a successful petition. On May 30, over 38,000 signatures were filed, more than twice the 17,000 required to qualify. The law was ultimately repealed by voters on November 7, 2006.[5][6][7]



See also: United States Senate elections in South Dakota, 2014

In mid-October 2012, Rounds filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form an exploratory committee to run for the United States Senate seat held by Tim Johnson (D). Johnson will not seek another term.[8]

On November 29, 2014, Rounds announced that he is running in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, to represent South Dakota.[9][2] Rounds easily won the Republican nomination in the primary on June 3, 2014. He defeated defeated South Dakota state Senator Larry Rhoden, South Dakota state legislator Stace Nelson, Dr. Annette Bosworth and Jason Ravnsborg.[3] The general election takes place November 4, 2014.

U.S. Senate, South Dakota Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMike Rounds 58.6% 19,259
Stace Nelson 16.7% 5,487
Larry Rhoden 15.4% 5,069
Annette Bosworth 6% 1,984
Jason Ravnsborg 3.3% 1,070
Total Votes 32,869
Source: Results via Associated Press Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.


Rounds enjoyed high popularity throughout most of his first term. After signing a controversial bill to ban most abortions in early 2006, Rounds' approval rating dropped significantly, but he recovered substantially by summer. Rounds was, therefore, a heavy favorite for re-election.[10]

In 2004, rumors circulated that television personality and former South Dakotan Pat O'Brien was considering a return to his home state to challenge Rounds; however, revelations of personal problems ended speculation about an O'Brien candidacy in 2006. Former state senator Ron Volesky of Huron, a Democrat, had announced his intention to oppose Rounds, but he abandoned his bid on February 22, 2006, citing an inability to raise funds.

Two Democratic candidates emerged to challenge Rounds: Jack Billion, a retired surgeon and former state legislator from Sioux Falls, and Dennis Wiese, the former president of the South Dakota Farmers Union. Billion easily defeated Wiese for the nomination and selected Rapid City school board member Eric Abrahamson as his running mate.[10]

Rounds was re-elected on November 7, 2006. The results were as follows:

  • Republicans: Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard — 61.7%
  • Democrats: Jack Billion and Eric Abrahamson — 36.1%
  • Constitution: Steve Willis and Larry Johnsen — 1.2%
  • Libertarians: Tom Gerber and Betty Rose Ryan — 1.0%


Rounds' victory in the 2002 Republican Gubernatorial Primary was one of South Dakota's greatest political upsets. Until late in 2001, then-Congressman John Thune was the front-runner for the nomination. When Thune passed on the race to challenge Senator Tim Johnson, state Attorney General Mark Barnett and former Lt. Governor Steve Kirby quickly became candidates. Rounds declared his candidacy late, in December 2001, and he was outraised and outspent ten-to-one by each of his opponents. However, the contest between Kirby and Barnett soon became very negative and "dirty." As the two front-runners concentrated on each other, Rounds insisted on running a positive campaign and was not attacked by his opponents. Rounds' positive image and extensive knowledge of state government won him many supporters who were alienated by the front-runners. On the day of the primary election, Rounds won a stunning victory, winning 44.3% to Barnett's 29.5% and Kirby's 26.1%.[10]

After winning the Republican nomination, Rounds selected state senator Dennis Daugaard of Dell Rapids to be his running mate. Their Democratic opponents were University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott and his running mate, former state representative Mike Wilson. During the campaign, Abbott, who had been considered the Democratic Party's strongest nominee in years, was hampered by his strategic inability to attack Rounds; any effort to "go negative" would have only reinforced Rounds' positive campaign.[10]

Rounds was elected governor on November 5, 2002. The results were as follows:

  • Republicans: Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard — 56.8%
  • Democrats: Jim Abbott and Mike Wilson — 41.9%
  • Independent: Jim Carlson and Ron Bosch — 0.7%
  • Libertarians: Nathan Barton and Eric Risty — 0.6%


"Rounds for Senate TV Ad 'Ready to Work'."


Rounds v. Weiland v. Pressler v. Howie v. Walker
Poll Mike Rounds Rick WeilandLarry PresslerGordon HowieClayton WalkerUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Survey USA
May 6- May 10, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Rounds v. Weiland v. Pressler v. Howie
Poll Mike Rounds Rick WeilandLarry PresslerGordon HowieMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
April 30- May 1, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign donors


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Rounds' reports.[11]

Mike Rounds (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[12]June 5, 2013$253,143.15$185,813.00$(67,654.86)$371,301.29
July Quarterly[13]July 15, 2013$371,301.29$603,468.80$(216,881.74)$757,888.35
October Quarterly[14]October 15, 2013$757,888.35$607,299.06$(350,365.93)$1,014,821.48
Year-End[15]January 29, 2014$1,014,821$519,234$(370,482)$1,163,573
Running totals


Rounds, the oldest of eleven children, was born in Huron, South Dakota and has lived in Pierre since he was three. Rounds attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., where he earned his bachelor of science in political science. While at South Dakota State University, Rounds met his wife, Jean Rounds, formerly of Lake Preston, S.D. They were married in 1978 and have four children.[10]

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See also

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Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Janklow
Governor of South Dakota
January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011
Succeeded by
Dennis Daugaard
Preceded by
South Dakota State Senate
1991 – 2001
Succeeded by