Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD, won’t seek re-election. Johnson suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006 and has been partially paralyzed, with affected speech, since then. He won a landslide victory in 2008 after winning squeakers in his previous two Senate elections, mainly because the Republican didn’t want to get wrapped up in a dirty campaign against a guy in a wheelchair, so they ran a nobody with no money, Joel Dykstra.
This seat was already in serious play because Mike Rounds, the former governor, has announced his candidacy. Rounds stupidly signed an abortion ban in 2006, which was overturned, but otherwise he’s considered a decent, well-liked governor.
The only Democrat who has a chance of winning this seat is former Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, who makes most of you bluer than blue because she’s a Blue Dog who opposed Obamacare. That was stupid and it didn’t help her keep her seat in 2010, but she’s still pretty well-known and well-liked in the state. Being well-liked and “independent” is the only way a Democrat wins in the ultra-red state South Dakota has become. There’s some talk of Johnson’s son Brendan, who’s the US Attorney, running, but he’s not that well known and has never run for office.
Though this is an off-year election, turnout in South Dakota is way over the national average – 62% turned out in the 2010 race between Herseth-Sandlin and Palinesque Kristi Noem. Mike Rounds is no Rick Berg, the tea party idiot that Heidi Heidekamp beat in 2012’s North Dakota race. Even so, South Dakota is a relatively cheap media market, and money spent on this race goes a long way. Given a choice between Herseth-Sandlin and Rounds, I’d vote for Stephanie once a day and twice on Sundays, even if she’ll end up being a Mary Landrieu or Claire McCaskill once she’s elected.
If the dems can hold onto even a slimmed-down majority in the Senate in 2014, 2016 will likely find the dems on extremely favorable turf to more than make up for any 2014 losses as all those 2010 senate seats the GOP won will be coming up for reelection in a presidential high-turnout year. To keep the turf favorable, however the dems have to come up with a strong, attractive presidential candidate. Um…anyone know of one :=)? Can we please not try to shoot ourselves in a circular firing squad seeking to kill all but the purest progressive pony in the herd?
Remember it’s a numbers game in Congress, folks. More Senators means Obama’s judges get through more easily. means we don’t have to worry about the Teatard House ideas becoming law. Yes, she’s Blue Dog, but sufficient numbers means her vote won’t be needed to pass more liberal laws.
Higgs Boson's Mate
Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin becomes a more attractive candidate when I consider the words, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
Only if we get past 60 or get some real filibuster reform. Sadly, I don’t think either looks likely. Which isn’t an argument for not supporting her; I’m just down this morning.
@Higgs Boson’s Mate: Well at least with McConnell, we won’t have that pesky filibuster problem. ugh
OT but…could use some good thoughts, as I’m off to the hospital where the daughter unit’s VP shunt is due to be revised today, possibly with a week of IV antibiotic therapy. She is not a happy camper, possibly less so than Mrs. X and your humble obedient. No trip to Harry Potter world for her and she’s highly pissed, not to mention scared and uncomfortable.
Just Some Fuckhead
Who names their boy Brenda with an “n” at the end?
@danielx: Here’s hoping all goes well.
@danielx: Good thoughts for all of you.
I understand this retirement. I’m glad he held on as long as he did.
happy thoughts and prayers coming your way
I iz worried about holding onto the Senate. Tis not looking good.
I was very disappointed by Herseth Sandlin’s Obamacare vote (I called her office beforehand), but I still voted for her over Noem. I’d gladly vote for her again against Rounds, though I’m sure she’d disappoint me on any number of issues in the future. It’s an easy calculation: some inevitable disappointment from a blue dog versus perpetual disagreement with a Republican.
The Moar You Know
I’m surprised we’ve held onto South Dakota this long. It’s going to take a monumental effort to keep it from flipping.
@Just Some Fuckhead: Tim Johnson.
Ugh. Happy thoughts for all concerned!
I’m happy to support Blue Dogs in states where that’s the best we can do, as long as they don’t get all prima-donna-ish about it and spoil the brand.
When a Bob Kerrey or Joe Lieberman gets a big chunk of Dem camera time, people think what they stand for is what the Dems stand for, and GOP-lite doesn’t exactly turn out the voters.
Heresy! You will surely be burned at the stake for your lack of fidelity to the principles of progressive purity.
@danielx: Oh man. Hopefully the little one cruises through this. Kids are resilient things though.
@burnspbesq: So why doesn’t Dr Jill Stein try to run for Senate there huh? PURITY UBER ALLES!!
I hate you for getting my hopes up that Ron Johnson was resigning.
Does Herseth-Sandlin even live in the state any longer? Does that matter?
I wish you east-coasters would quit hating on Claire McCaskill. If she were from Massachusetts, she’d be Elizabeth Warren’s right arm. But she’s not. Todd Akin was confidently expected to beat her easily until he started airing his thoughts about rape. She had Obama’s back on Obamacare. She was state auditor before she was Senator, and she’s still working to trying to rein in the big banks. She’s a hell of a lot better than Lieberman, and that takes a hell of a lot of courage in Missouri.
Well, that’s kind’a easy to do, when the entire state’s population is less than 840,000 (don’t LA and NYC have *neighborhoods* with almost that many people?), GOTV is a lot simpler.