Republicans had their sights set on the Senate seat in South Dakota in 2014, but they may have been handed some help. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who has served in the chamber since 1997, has announced his retirement:
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) will not seek reelection in 2014, The Hill has confirmed, putting another red-state seat up for grabs in the battle for control of the Senate.
Johnson, who is serving his third term, will announce the news on Tuesday at the University of South Dakota, his former school. Johnson will be the fifth Senate Democrat to retire this election cycle.
The decision gives Republicans another prime pickup opportunity as they work to win back control of the Senate.
Republicans need to gain six seats to flip control of the upper chamber in 2014. Mitt Romney carried South Dakota with 57 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.
While Democrats would have spent a lot of money in the state, Johnson was probably going to have a hard time thanks to his vote for a budget that would raise taxes by $1 trillion. Johnson also voted against ObamaCare repeal, for an Internet sales tax, against a higher vote threshold for gun control, and against keeping the United States out of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
And that’s just what he did between Friday night and Saturday morning. Johnson has been terrible on fiscal issues since he joined the Senate. Former Gov. Mike Rounds (R-SD) is rumored to be interested, but his fiscal record was less than impressive as he supported some tax hikes during his tenure.
This seat is obviously not guaranteed for Senate Republicans, but they have to like the outlook, especially in a mid-term.