Clear As Mud

Real Clear Politics tries to document our 2008 Senate contest. Who’s running, who’s not, and better still, who might be running.

South Dakota is a trickier question. While national Democratic strategists and operatives close to Sen. Tim Johnson insist that he will seek another term, some Democrats are quietly skeptical. They suggest that when the Senator, who suffered a life-threatening medical emergency in December and returned to the Senate this month, needs to make a decision about the future, he may not choose to seek re-election.

If that were to happen, Republican strategists would place heavy pressure on popular Gov. Mike Rounds to run for an open seat, and while the governor doesn’t seem very interested now, he might find it hard to resist an open seat.

One Democrat familiar with South Dakota politics argues that given Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s apparent preference to run for governor — her grandfather was governor and her father ran unsuccessfully for the office — the Democratic Congresswoman might well decide against an uphill run against Rounds for the Senate. But all of this is moot if Johnson runs for re-election.

Got that? Even Senator Johnson’s quote saying he plans and running and winning isn’t enough to stop the speculation even among Democrats. And if you have somehow figured out the 2008 Senate race, how about the governor’s race in 2010? David Kranz continues the Herseth Sandlin for governor theme  and muddies that up for us as well this morning.

When U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin told me last week that she wouldn’t rule out a run for governor in 2010, the political dynamics for the next four years shifted.

But she might not run either, then again it’s not like we have over 3 years until the election…Oh wait a minute, we do! I am glad that is all cleared up and in just the nick of time…

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