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Thune Reacts To Johnson's Announcement

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On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson will announce whether or not he intends to run for senate in 2014.

Sen. Johnson will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. on the USD campus in the Al Neuharth Media Center.

Democratic officials say Johnson intends to retire, which would give republicans an opportunity to pick up a seat in 2014. Johnson, who is 66, joined the United States Senate in 1997. In 2006, Johnson suffered bleeding in the brain, which has since slowed his speech. He is currently Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds has already announced he will seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, all of South Dakota is waiting to hear Sen. Johnson's decision and that includes other politicians.

Among those interested is Republican Sen. John Thune. We caught up with him on Monday before teaching a political science class at Augustana College.

When asked about Sen. Johnson's upcoming announcement, he said he doesn't know what Johnson plans to announce, but just like everyone else, he will be listening with great interest.

Sen. Thune said, "He's somebody I think over the years has served his state well and anytime you hear someone say I'm going to make an announcement about my future people kinda perk up."

Sen. Thune said Johnson has made his mark in South Dakota. He's had a long career in South Dakota politics. Thune said his job as United States Senator is one many want to have.

Sen. Thune said, "There's a lot of interest for many reasons because there are others if he decides not to run are probably interested in his job."

If Johnson were to announce that he is retiring, that would leave a vacant seat next to Thune's. A seat that could be difficult for Democrats to defend.

According to the news agency Rueters, sources close to Johnson on Capitol Hill say he does not plan to run for re-election when his term ends in 2014.

It's suspected Johnson's son, Brendon Johnson, who is South Dakota's US Attorney, would run for his seat. ormer United States Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's name has also been thrown in as a possible candidate.
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