Mike Rounds announces 2014 Senate run in South Dakota

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds announced a Senate bid Thursday to challenge Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2014.

The Argus Leader reported Thursday that Rounds, who said in September that he was considering a run, confirmed his decision today in a press release. He also held a news conference in Pierre, S.D. Thursday morning.

“We need to become a country of cooperation instead of confrontation,” Rounds said, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson has not yet said if he will run for re-election, saying a formal announcement will come 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,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson also praised Rounds.

“I consider Mike a friend, and I welcome him to the race,” the senator said. “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.”

The seat is seen as a prime opening for Republicans in a state Mitt Romney won by 18 points. The Fix blog at The Washington Post ranked the senate seat as the one most likely to change party hands in 2014.

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