Roll Call: Johnson's re-election plans on hold.
Rapid City Journal: not so quick
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.Read it all here (subscription required) But not hours later, the Rapid City Journal has come out with a contradictory story here:
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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.