Tim Johnson’s seat ‘vacant?’


That was the word Ben Nesselhuf, the executive director and chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party used. He was describing what the Senate seat now held by Tim Johnson may be during the 2014 election.

Check this report in Thursday’s Daily Republic for details. But it was an amazing word to hear.

Part of it is that Nesselhuf, and other Democrats, want to lure Rep. Kristi Noem into a primary battle with former Gov. Mike Rounds. The Democrats would love to see those two Republicans scratch and claw each other all over the state next year. Some Republicans are eager for that, too.

Most Republicans and their online minions are also encouraging Democrats to fight it out in a 2014 Senate primary. Both sides are hoping the other will do their dirty work for them, and it may happen.

If that occurs on the GOP side, if Rounds and Noem duke it out to see who is the real conservative, it does two things: It puts the state’s sole House seat up for grabs. A Democrat, say, Brendan Johnson, for example, could win it.

It would also mean the winner of the GOP family fight would emerge weakened for the Senate race. There a Democrat, say, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, for example, could win, giving the state two of the three congressional offices.

As far as the governor’s office. Nesselhuf says the D’s will have someone strong to run against Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Who? Ben says there are a lot of Democrats, names I would recognize, he says, who are itching to run for one of the three offices next year. But he wouldn’t share any.

But first the Democratic Party has to see if Sen. Tim Johnson, the most successful politician in South Dakota history, a man with 12 wins and no losses over his career, a Democrat who defeated Republican icons named Pressler and Thune, wants to run.

Or if he wants to retire, and put the Senate seat up for grabs. We will soon know.

Oh, and of course, Go Jacks! I am an SDSU grad and fan. I think others are compiling what people think of the NCAA tourney. We will keep our eye on 2014, which may be one of the most fascinating years in South Dakota political history.

2 thoughts on “Tim Johnson’s seat ‘vacant?’

  1. Why is Tim Johnson SD’s most successful politician just because he never lost anything? You clearly must put Daschle, McGovern or Janklow as the most successful. Just winning races and being invisible shouldn’t count as most successful.

  2. I don’t see Noem wanting to commit political suicide and run against Rounds and a strong Dem. She could probably sneak out a primary victory if she came out aggressive but she wouldn’t win in the general after what she’d need to do to Rounds.

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