Johnson: "I fully intend to put together a winning campaign"Democratic senator responds to announcement of 2014 Senate candidacy by Republican former governor Mike Rounds
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
Following former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds' announcement Thursday morning that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat held by Tim Johnson, Johnson quickly responded with a news release that says, well, something.
The release from Johnson, a Democrat, says he will make his formal announcement "later next year."
"But I feel great, still have work to do, and I fully intend to put together a winning campaign in the weeks and months ahead," the news release adds. "In the meantime, I intend to continue to focus on my important work representing South Dakota."
So while Johnson stopped short of outright declaring his re-election bid, it appears he is planning to run, which would set up a clash of South Dakota political titans.
Rounds, a Republican, was a popular two-term governor and served prior to that in the state Legislature. Johnson has served in the Legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate and along the way has bested other South Dakota political heavyweights in hotly contested elections, including Larry Pressler and John Thune.
Johnson's statement included some praise of Rounds.
"I consider Mike a friend, and I welcome him to the race. I had an excellent working relationship with him during his eight years as governor, and the fact that he has already re-stated his refusal to take the Grover Norquist 'no tax increases under any circumstances' pledge is a very good sign.
"Our country faces a real fiscal dilemma, and tax increases on the wealthy absolutely have to be a part of the solution. While I'm sure that Mike and I will have some policy disagreements – which is to be expected – I am more than willing to give credit where it is due. And the fact that Mike realizes that it is irresponsible to take tax increases off the negotiating table is absolutely to his credit."