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'Draft Brendan' effort begins

Brendan Johnson1 / 3
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin2 / 3
Ryan Casey3 / 3

A group of South Dakotans wants to keep somebody named Johnson in the Senate.

Ryan Casey, the chairman of the Lincoln County Democratic Party, is leading a committee to persuade U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson to run for the Senate seat his father, Sen. Tim Johnson, is vacating. Sen. Johnson announced Tuesday he will not run for a fourth term, and will end 36 years in public life on Jan. 3, 2015.

That's the day the person who wins the 2014 South Dakota U.S. Senate race will be sworn in. Casey issued a press release Wednesday announcing the formation of the Draft Brendan Johnson for U.S. Senate campaign, which has a website at

Brendan Johnson said Wednesday that he has seen the press release.

"Someone forwarded it to me," he said. "Yes, I have seen it."

But the younger Johnson once again said he could not discuss politics publicly because of his job.

Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin also has people urging her to jump into the Senate race. On her Facebook page, Herseth Sandlin posted praise for Sen. Johnson for his years of service. People then commented that Herseth Sandlin should seek to replace Tim Johnson in the Senate.

Pat Blair, of Mitchell, wrote "yes, Stephanie, please run for the Senate!"

The only declared candidate for the seat is former Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican.

Brendan Johnson said he has no idea what Herseth Sandin will do, but said any reports that there is a feud between the Johnsons and the former congresswoman are false.

"That is not true at all. I like and admire Stephanie," he said. 'I have all the respect in the world for her."