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Expert Reacts To 2014 U.S. Senate Race

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It was Thursday that former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds announced he will be taking the next step in his political career. He ended months of speculation by announcing that he will run for the U.S. senate seat in 2014.

Associate Professor at Augustana College Dr. Joel Johnson said, "It's still two years to go, but the game's on."

"Not surprising," said Dr. Johnson.

Johnson said, "I think that we're going to see a lot of early campaigning across the nation as people look forward to 2014. The 2012 election across was very contested across the country, as was 2010, and so people are trying to get an early start on that campaign."
Rounds said he made the announcement early because he wanted time to raise and spend money for his campaign. But also, the Federal Election Commission mandates that candidates must file within 15 days of raising or spending $5,000.

"All in all it's a big plus, especially when you're not currently serving in an elective office. You have that luxury of being able to declare early and then conduct your campaign for a full two years," said Dr. Johnson.

Now the question is: Who will he face? Although Republican Rep. Kristi Noem has said it's too early, many wonder if she'll run against Rounds in the primary, and if she's up for the task.

Dr. Johnson said, "She's already going to be up against a strong Republican challenger. I mean, Mike Rounds has state-wide office experience. He's got a long political record, a lot of connections, presumably he'll be able to raise a lot of funding so it's not like it's an open seat for the Republican challenger."

And, for those who thought Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson wouldn't fight for his seat, you better think again. He didn't exactly say he was seeking re-election, however, he issued a statement on Thursday, saying that he 'feels great' and he 'fully intends to put together a winning campaign'.

Dr. Johnson said, "I'm guessing that regardless of what his personal decision might be, there's going to be a lot of pressure from the National Democratic field to stay put, we need that seat."

Whatever happens, Dr. Johnson says it could look a lot like the race a few years ago.

Dr. Johnson said, "Maybe not quite as much as much as what happened with Daschle and Thune."

But it's going to be big; national attention big.

Yesterday, Rounds stopped in Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls to announce his senate bid.
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