Rounds forms committee for US Senate runDAKOTA DUNES (AP) — Former Republican South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is forming a committee to explore a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tim Johnson.
DAKOTA DUNES (AP) — Former Republican South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is forming a committee to explore a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tim Johnson.
The seat is up for election in November 2014. Rounds said if he does decide to run, he will not make an announcement until after the November elections.
Rounds served two terms as governor, from 2003 to 2009. He has talked openly about a possible Senate run since early this year because of his concerns about the country's debt and health care reform and "a federal government that doesn't understand that profit is not a dirty word."
"As a businessman, I firmly believe something has to change in this country, or we're going to be in real trouble," Rounds told the Argus Leader newspaper Thursday.
His decision to form an exploratory committee was first reported by KCCR radio in Pierre. The move will allow Rounds to raise and spend up to $5,000 to explore a Senate run. He said he will file paperwork in the next 30 days.
Johnson has represented South Dakota in Congress since 1986. He has not yet announced whether he will seek a fourth Senate term.
Bob Burns, a retired political science professor at South Dakota State University, said Rounds would be a strong GOP candidate.
"I would guess his closest competition would probably be Rep. (Kristi) Noem, assuming that she wins in November," he said. "I can't think of anyone who would give him a hard run for the nomination other than Rep. Noem."
Noem is being challenged this fall by Democrat Matt Varilek, Johnson's former economic development director.