On Friday South Dakota senior Senator Tim Johnson confirmed what had been suspected for months: the 2-term Democratic incumbent will run for a 3rd term in 2008. Senator Johnson is extremely popular in his home state, and perhaps has gained greater favor among the electorate after his near fatal brain injury last December.
Johnson won two-razor thin Senatorial campaigns – in 1996 by 2.6 points over Larry Pressler, and in 2002 by 0.1 points over John Thune. Johnson’s seat is one of the few Republicans have been eyeing as pick-ups in 2008, but his candidacy puts South Dakota back in the ‘likely Democratic’ column, unless (and this is not expected) Republican Governor Mike Rounds should decide to run for Congress and give up his state executiveship.
On Johnson’s campaign website he released the following statement:
“I was looking forward to asking South Dakotans to allow me to serve them for another term prior to my illness last December. Since then, I have never once lost my desire to continue serving South Dakota, but I needed time to recover and regain my health in order to determine whether I could do the job and best serve our state. After months of rehabilitation and recovery, more than a month on the job in Washington and after my recent trips back to South Dakota it is clear, to my family, my doctors, and me that I am able to do the hard work required of a United States Senator. I have said before that, I wanted to take this second chance at life and focus even harder on being the best advocate I can for the people of South Dakota. Today I am asking South Dakotans to give me the chance to give back to them by announcing that I will run for re-election in 2008.”