By Jennifer Springer
PIERRE, South Dakota: On June 11, 2013 U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem announced her decision not to run for the seat being left vacant by Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who is not seeking a fourth term in 2014. Instead, Noem will seek a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me and pledged support for a potential campaign for the U.S. Senate,” Noem said in a statement. “However, after spending the weekend discussing our future with Bryon and our children, we decided that right now we are in the best position to serve South Dakota as a member of the U.S. House.”
Many speculate that Noem would have been the most formidable primary challenger against former Gov. Mike Rounds. Noem's decision not to run eliminates a hurdle to Rounds's nomination, but outside conservative groups are still actively looking for a potential challenger.
So far, Republican Mike Rounds and Democrat Rick Weiland are the only candidates who have declared in the race. Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) and U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson (D) both passed on the race.
Noem did not endorse any specific candidate but said she would work hard to help elect a South Dakota Republican to the Senate.