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Report: Sen. Tim Johnson to retire

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) does not plan to run for re-election in 2014, according to this report by Reuters. Johnson has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow.

Mitt Romney carried South Dakota by 18 points last year. But we shouldn’t assume that, therefore, the South Dakota Senate seat will be an easy pick-up. Romney carried North Dakota and Montana comfortably, yet the Dems elected Senators in both states, including a non-incumbent in North Dakota.

Moreover, the Democrats do not appear devoid of potentially good candidates to replace Johnson. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a former at-large congresswoman who was defeated by less than 3 points in the 2010 wave election, is one possibility. Brendan Johnson, the State’s U.S. Attorney and son of the current Senator, may be another.

Still, a credible Republican candidate should have a strong shot at this Senate seat. Presumably, Rep. Kristi Noem, who defeated Herseth Sandlin in 2010, will be the frontrunner. But I’ll leave it John, who hails from South Dakota, to opine more definitively, if he sees fit.

NOTE: The final paragraph of this post has been modified since the original posting.

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