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US attorney Johnson dances around political future

Brendan Johnson

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson of South Dakota says his job as federal prosecutor prevents him from commenting on his political plans, but does not dispute comments that he won't be running for Senate in 2014.

Johnson told the Argus Leader Monday that he looked at polling and talked to numerous people about a Senate run, but could not elaborate because Department of Justice rules do not allow public political statements.

However, Johnson does not challenge public comments by Senate candidate Rick Weiland, who says Johnson will not pursue the position.

Northern State University political science professor Jon Schaff says "that's as close as we're going to get" to a statement that Johnson is not running for Senate.

The seat is open because Johnson's father, Sen. Tim Johnson, is retiring.

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