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No Herseth Sandlin Leads To Interesting Race

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The political race for the South Dakota Senate is shaping up. Two candidates are for sure in the running and one democratic possibility announced she will not seek election.  


“This is a bit of a surprise. I think there were a lot of people who were hoping that she would run. I know there are some national figures who were hoping she was running,” said Augustana College Political Science Professor Dr. Joel Johnson.


Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's first opponent, if she ran, would have been fellow democrat, Rick Weiland. Who knows Herseth Sandlin would have been a challenge to beat.  


“There's no doubt in my mind, Stephanie would have been a very tough opponent,” said Weiland


“It does mean he doesn't have to face a really heavy hitter with national name recognition and a lot of support from the national party. So, yea, I think he is breathing a little bit easier today,” said Dr. Johnson about Weiland.


But, for Rick Weiland or anyone else that runs on the democratic side, there could be a big name waiting after the primaries.  


“To try and get any candidate up to speed against someone who announced many months ago, Mike Rounds, that’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of foot work. It takes a lot of money,” said Dr. Johnson.


Mike Rounds announced his candidacy just after the 2012 elections.  And despite being the only republican candidate, with so much time left before the elections, another republican could throw their hat in the race.


“He has to worry about a potential challenger to his right so, whether there is going to be more of a Tea Party Challenger,” said Dr. Johnson.


"We recognize that it's early yet and a lot of things can change. So, the focus is to be able to take on all challengers,” said Mike Rounds.


With a year and a half until the election, one political scientist says the Senate race is just starting to heat up. 


“This race could have more surprises before we're done,” said Dr. Johnson.

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