Roll Call: Johnson's re-election plans on hold.
Rapid City Journal: not so quick

Big speculation out in the mainstream media on Johnson's health and his electoral chances for 2008. Now, in Roll Call magazine, a spokeswoman is saying that his re-election plans are on hold, pending the course of his recovery:
A spokeswoman said Monday that the Senator’s health will dictate whether a 2008 bid, which had been on track until illness struck, can eventually resume.

Johnson had long ago started raising money, and he was beginning to assemble a campaign staff and mull over when to announce his bid for a third term when he was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage. Those re-election plans are now in limbo as his health and ability to wage what could be a very demanding Senate race are assessed.

“Things are on hold to prioritize the most important thing, and that’s got to be his health,” Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said. “It’s just a matter of how long the recovery process is going to be. We’re still in a holding [pattern] on that one.”

and...

Patrick Davis, a Denver-based Republican consultant and native South Dakotan who served as political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2004, speculated that Johnson would ultimately choose not to run for re-election. He said the rigors required to wage a successful South Dakota Senate race — particularly in a presidential cycle — would be significant considering his current health problems.

“I don’t think Tim runs again,” Davis said.

and...

Davis predicted Rounds would run only if Johnson retires. Davis said Rounds would be all but unbeatable if the seat opens up — including against Herseth, who he speculated would not run against the governor, as the 36-year-old Congresswoman’s House seat appears to be hers for as long as she wants it.

and...

In addition to Rounds, the potential Republican field includes former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby, who probably could afford to self-finance a Senate race if he chose to; current Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard; state Sen. Dave Knudson; and Public Utilities Commission Chairman Dusty Johnson.
Read it all here (subscription required) But not hours later, the Rapid City Journal has come out with a contradictory story here:

The communications director for U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson said Tuesday that it is premature for people to speculate that Johnson’s recent brain surgery and expected lengthy recovery make it likely that he won’t run for re-election next year.

and...

Johnson communications director Julianne Fisher said Tuesday afternoon, however, that despite the trauma of Johnson’s Dec. 13 surgery and months of recovery ahead, she still expected her boss to seek re-election in 2008.

“Tim was enthusiastically preparing to run for office before this happened,” Fisher said. “His campaign team continues to work to put him in a position to do so. We anticipate he will run for office.”

It could be a difficult run, if Johnson is well enough and decides to make it. But Johnson’s office released good news Tuesday with a report that the senator’s medical condition had been upgraded from critical to fair. He no longer needs a ventilator to help his breathing, although doctors left a tracheotomy tube in place to guard his airway.
Read that all here. Is he or isn't he? I certainly hope Senator Johnson gets well soon, but regardless, I'm getting dizzy from all the spin.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They forgot another golden Republican who could win the US Senate seat?? His name is Jarrod Johnson!
Anonymous said…
The big "x factor" with Rounds running for Senate is this: I'm not certain that he really wants to be a senator. Obviously he is more likely to win if Johnson does not, but that won't matter to him if he does not want the job.
Anonymous said…
A-8:53
What do you think Rounds is going to do? Go back to 125 E. Dakota and sell insurance?
Anonymous said…
It wouldn't suprise me terribly if that is exactly what Rounds does.

I should say - I think the honest answer about Johnson running again is that no one knows. They just want to see how his health works out - he obviously hasn't decided because he is in no position to decide.
Anonymous said…
I'd rather sell insurance in Pierre than live in Washington D.C.
Anonymous said…
If his heart ain't in it, I wouldn't call Rounds a shoe-in against Princess Stephanie. She understands what it means to be a Bluedog Democrat, tossing in just enough conservative votes to win favor in South Dakota. But she does have to weigh the risk of giving up a House seat, that I have to agree, is probably hers as long as she wants it.
Anonymous said…
how long can the Democrats continue on with this "Weekend at Bernie's" routine? Tim was a great guy, but we need someone in there who can work now.
PP said…
Holy crap 10:56 -
that was seriously uncalled for.
Anonymous said…
PP -

I highly suggest you remove 10:56. Uncalled for is right.

Thanks.
Anonymous said…
Last year rumors abounded that Johnson would not run in 2008 due to the health of his wife. His recent stroke provides added incentive for him to remain home.

What he must consider is his fund raising ability because it lends credibility in the eyes of political pundits.

I think Patrick Davis called it correctly.

Nice endorsement from Jarrod's staffer (probably Jen G.) but he doesn't have a chance.
Anonymous said…
Whatch for Roll Call to do another story on this matter.
Anonymous said…
Johnson's staff just got caught red-handed saying one thing to the Washington Inside the beltway media and anoher to the folks back home.

They calculated what DC insiders wanted to hear, i.e. the DNC and then turned around and told the folks back home that the campaign is full steam ahead, even though TJ is in for months and months of rehab.

And we wish him the best but let's face it: he won't be ready for the rigors of a campaign after all he's been through.

Mike Rounds for Senate...that way we can get a good Republican back in the Governor's seat!
Anonymous said…
Johnson's staff just got caught red-handed saying one thing to the Washington Inside the beltway media and anoher to the folks back home.

They calculated what DC insiders wanted to hear, i.e. the DNC and then turned around and told the folks back home that the campaign is full steam ahead, even though TJ is in for months and months of rehab.

And we wish him the best but let's face it: he won't be ready for the rigors of a campaign after all he's been through.

Mike Rounds for Senate...that way we can get a good Republican back in the Governor's seat!
VJ said…
pp

I have never voted for Mr. Johnson and I never will.

But that 10:56 post should never of been posted.

I know for a fact that some of his family members read this blog. They don't need to be reading that kind of crap.

pp 11:03 - you say "that was seriously uncalled for"

You are 100% correct! So just why in the heck are you leaving it on? You have the fastest growing blog around so you don't need posts like that to increase readership!

Sure, you have the right to leave it on, but its not the right thing to do.

That 10:56 post is right out of Mt. Blogmore. The hate and spiteful personal attacks allowed on that blog are just unbelievable!

Even though you let me post on it, your blog is probably the most respected political blog in South Dakota.

pp - In my opinion, you might of made a mistake in allowing post 10:56.
mom said…
VJ
Allowing 10:56 post to stand --and PP commenting strongly that it is uncalled for--- is actually a more forceful denouncement than simply removing it.

It allows you --and me--to also chide that poster for having very bad manners and being inappropriate. How forcefully others comment on the comment is one way that peer pressure encourages others to be kind and polite.

Do you notice an outpour of others agreeing with 10:56's sentiment?? No!

I do know that there are many South Dakotans who feel underrepresented and even though they are sad about Tim and wish him well--they also wish that they had a Senator looking after our interests in pending legislation. However, the politics of the day make that impossible. No one can appoint a replacement until Tim is feeling better as might be done in the business world. There are no temp. employees (appointments) in politics!

That being the case it becomes unkind and very bad manners to voice those concerns, because voicing them hints that you believe that he may never fully recover.

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