|U.S. Senate, South Dakota|
|31st Governor of South Dakota|
|January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011|
|South Dakota State Senate|
|1991 – 2001|
|Bachelor's||South Dakota State University (1977)|
|Birthday||October 24, 1954|
|Place of birth||Huron, SD|
Marion Michael "Mike" Rounds (born October 24, 1954) is an American politician. Rounds served as Governor of South Dakota January 7, 2003 through January 2011, having been elected on November 5, 2002 and re-elected on November 7, 2006.
Rounds is a partner in Fischer Rounds & Associates, an insurance and real estate firm with offices in Pierre, South Dakota, Rapid City, South Dakota, Mitchell, South Dakota, and Brandon, South Dakota. He placed his ownership interest into a blind trust upon being elected governor. Rounds is a member of Ss. 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.
- BS, Political Science, South Dakota State University, 1977
South Dakota Governor (2003-2011)
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, but never did 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 The law was ultimately repealed by voters on November 7, 2006.
According to a Survey USA poll released in January 2006, Rounds had an approval rating of 73% and a "net" approval rating of +52%, which placed him among the top five governors in the United States in terms of approval rating. Following the abortion ban, again according to a SurveyUSA poll, Rounds' approval rating dropped 14% to 58%; his approval rebounded to 70% after the ban was repealed.
During the 2006 legislative session, Governor Rounds signed House Bill 1233, entitled “An Act to provide for the establishment and operation of artisan distillers and to revise certain provisions concerning farm wineries.” This bill, proposed by the Rounds’ brother, Jamison, changed state law to allow for operation of small-scale (50,000 gallons/year/facility) liquor distilleries in the state. At the time, Jamison Rounds testified before the legislature and explained that he was advocating the change so that he could open a distillery in the state. The bill passed the state house 60-5 and the state senate 33-2; among those voting in favor was another Rounds brother, Representative Tim Rounds. Shortly after the law went into effect, Jamison Rounds and another brother, Tom, announced that they had purchased a building outside of Pierre with the intention of opening a distillery. 
The Argus Leader, the largest newspaper in South Dakota, ran an opinion piece regarding the legislature’s overwhelming passage of the distillery bill. The article, entitled “Ethically confused — again: For lawmakers, high moral ground doesn't include the Rounds' booze business,” noted the irony that the state legislature would allow operation of distilleries in the same session that it passed legislation banning abortion. Sen. Clarence Kooistra (R), one of the few state legislators to vote against the bill was quoted as saying, "I just didn't think we should be expanding liquor sales. I felt we were sending the wrong message."
South Dakota State Senate (1991-2001)
Rounds represented District 24, which includes Pierre, South Dakota and the surrounding area in the South Dakota Legislature from 1991 to 2001, serving from 1995 as majority leader. In 1990, Rounds won 52.5% of the vote in a successful challenge of incumbent state senator Jacqueline Kelley, a Pierre, South Dakota United States Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 1992 with 59.9%, in 1994 with 77.3%, in 1996 with 66.0%, and in 1998 with 74.9%. Rounds was barred from seeking re-election in 2000 by Term limits, which South Dakota voters had passed in 1994.
In 1995, Rounds was selected by his peers to be majority leader. During his time as majority leader, Rounds worked closely with Governor Bill Janklow and was respected for his effective leadership of the Senate. Rounds had an important role in passing several of Janklow's initiatives, including property tax reduction, reform of the school aid funding formula, the "wiring" of South Dakota schools, and the sale of the state cement plant.
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 has not yet announced if he will seek another term. He made a formal announcement of his candidacy on November 29, 2012.
After Rounds attracted national attention by signing into law South Dakota's ban on abortion, there was speculation that Rounds could mount a long shot bid for the 2008 Republican nomination for President of the United States. However, Rounds never publicly expressed any interest in pursuing the presidency.
Rounds enjoyed high popularity throughout most of his his first term. After signing a controversial bill to ban most abortions in early 2006, Rounds approval rating dropped significantly, but recovered substantially by summer. Rounds was therefore a heavy favorite for re-election.
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 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.
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 was out-raised 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%.
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.
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, 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, South Dakota, 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, South Dakota. They were married in 1978 and have four children.
- Social media:
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- Brainy Quote - Mike Rounds quotations
- Mike Rounds legislative service from the South Dakota Legislative Research Council.
- ↑ National Governors Association, "South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds," accessed October 22, 2012
- ↑ Project Vote Smart, "M. Michael 'Mike' Rounds's Biography," accessed October 22, 2012
- ↑ Washington Post, "S.D. Abortion Bill Takes Aim at 'Roe'," February 23, 2006
- ↑ MSNBC, "South Dakota governor signs abortion ban," March 7, 2006
- ↑ BBC News, "US state tightens abortion laws," March 7, 2006
- ↑ Argus Leader, "Mike Rounds files in move toward possible bid for Senate in 2014," October 17, 2012
- ↑ CNN Political Ticker, "Second early 2014 Senate campaign announcement," November 29, 2012
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 National Journal, "Gov. Mike Rounds," accessed October 22, 2012
William J. Janklow
|Governor of South Dakota
January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011
| Succeeded by|
|South Dakota State Senate
1991 – 2001
| Succeeded by|
State of South Dakota
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