2014 Senate Race Intrigue Grows
Could the race for Tim Johnson’s open U.S. Senate Seat see a repeat of Kristi Noem versus Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin?
Is U.S. Senator John Thune working to keep Kristi Noem out of the race, so she’ll hang onto her seat in Congress?
Is an erstwhile gubernatorial candidate from Mike Rounds’ surprise victory in 2002 set to make a political reappearance? Sources tell NewsCenter1, the answer to all three is, ‘yes.’
Those are just some of the storylines that are building intrigue over the 2014 U.S. Senate race that has every potential to be the most expensive, most volatile, most media-soaked event in South Dakota political history.
And it might start with the two leading ladies of South Dakota politics, Kristi Noem and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin.
In recent interviews, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin sounds more and more like she will run for Tim Johnson’s seat, while Republicans are waiting to see what the woman who knocked Sandlin out of Congress is planning to do. The question on everyone’s mind, could it be Kristi Noem versus Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in 2014?
In an interview with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader this week, former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin says she feels the urgency to make a decision, about running for South Dakota’s open senate seat in 2014.
Says Herseth-Sandlin, “That urgency has taken on more intensity, especially since Senator Tim Johnson’s announcement that he will retire.”
Meanwhile, another potential candidate, former state senator, Bill Napoli of Rapid City mulls a run of his own.
“I was approached by many people who said, Bill it's time. It's time for you to represent us in Congress.” Napoli said.
Like many others, Napoli, says a decision by current Congresswoman Kristi Noem is what everyone is waiting for.
“I honestly believe that if she does not run, it will probably be the biggest political blunder of this century, because the stars are aligned for her to walk into that seat,” Napoli said.
“You know, she started out a little weak as a candidate, and a little weak in the House, but she's growing into that position, she's growing stronger she's becoming more articulate.”
And a Noem-Herseth Sandlin rematch could be in the works. If both women decide to run, Napoli says their familiarity from a hard fought congressional race in 2010, combined with large amounts of out of state money tussling over the senate balance of power would make for high grade political theater.
“But this all hinges on Kristi Noem. If Kristi Noem runs, I'm perfectly satisfied with that, but if she decides she's going to stay in the house, then all cards are on the table and we're going to look at all options.” Napoli said.
Regardless of their final decisions, the interest generated by a Noem, Herseth-Sandlin grudge match makes the prospect of a Mike Rounds, Brendan Johnson race pale by comparison. With Bill Napoli considering his own run, he says there are a number of reasons why republicans have been lukewarm about a rounds candidacy.
“Here's a guy that just walked out of the governor's chair after 8 years and handed 125-million dollar deficit to Daugaard and said we'll see you, here take care of this. I honestly believe that they've forgotten who we are and we need to get back to that,” Napoli said.
As if all that wasn’t enough, sources tell NewsCenter1 that Sioux Falls businessman, Steve Kirby is considering a run as well.