By Jennifer Springer
PIERRE, South Dakota: Since the announcement by three term Senator Tim Johnson (D) on April 25 that he would not be seeking another term in 2014, rumors surrounding possible candidates have been flying.
Potential Democratic candidates include U.S. Attorney, and son of outgoing Sen. Tim Johnson, Brendan Johnson and former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Because of Johnson's role as the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, he has repeatedly said he will not talk about politics while he is currently serving in the position.
Herseth Sandlin, who currently works as general counsel for Raven Industries, released a statement regarding her possible candidacy, saying "I am very grateful for the encouragement I’ve been receiving in recent weeks to run for public office again. This is going to be a difficult decision because while I loved serving South Dakota, I also love my work at Raven Industries, and Max, Zachary and I are thoroughly enjoying our family life in Sioux Falls.I would prefer to make this decision much later in the year, but I’m going to try to do so yet this spring or early summer.”
On the Republican side, potential candidates include Rep. Kristi Noem and former state senator Bill Napoli, as well as former Gov. Mike Rounds.
Noem narrowly beat out then-incumbent Herseth Sandlin for the congressional seat in 2010. If both women decide to run, many say their "familiarity from a hard fought congressional race in 2010, combined with large amounts of out of state money tussling over the senate balance of power would make for high grade political theater."
Former Republican Governor Mike Rounds is the only announced candidate for the state’s 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Regardless of the final decisions, the interest generated by a Noem-Herseth Sandlin grudge match makes the prospect of a Mike Rounds versus Brendan Johnson race pale by comparison.