Sen. Tim Johnson said he isn’t in the business of helping the Republican Party, but he did offer a few thoughts about its tough Election Night, nationally that is.
“The problem with the Republicans was their primary,” Johnson, a moderate Democrat who has thrived in bright red South Dakota, said after a Tuesday meeting with the South Dakota Farmers Union, and some farmers, ranchers and others in the ag industry.
Politics popped up after the farm bill discussion, and Johnson said he feels the GOP was forced too far to the right in the spring, and Mitt Romney ended up viewed as a right winger by enough voters to doom his chances.
“I have spent a lifetime going to the middle and I think the extremes don’t make any sense at all,” he said. “That’s my opinion.”
Johnson said he knows South Dakota Democrats had another bad year, with losses in all statewide races, and another drubbing in legislative races. “We’ll be back,” he said with a sunny smile.
He said he hopes his former staffer Matt Varilek, who lost a bid for the state’s sole House seat, and Matt McGovern, who was beaten in a bid for a PUC seat, run for office again. Johnson said he wasn’t sure if Varilek would come back to work for him.
“Give him time,” he said. “He deserves the rest.”
Johnson passed on the question when he would announce his plans for 2014. Will he seek a fourth term in the Senate, or retired unbeaten in nearly 40 years in elective office? He didn’t give me an exclusive on that.
“I’m not done with the lame-duck session yet,” Johnson said. “There’s plenty of time. Sometime next year.”