U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson has finally explained why he is not running for the Senate to fill the South Dakota seat of his father, Tim: He doesn't think he can win.
In an interview remarkable for saying little, Johnson said more people know the walleye is the state fish than know about him.
Johnson, a Democrat, repeatedly claimed during an interview with The Argus Leader's "100 Eyes" online TV program that he couldn't say whether he is running or not because as a U.S. attorney he is forbidden from making any political statements.
But he did say a recent Public Policy Polling survey made him realize that relying on his father's name may not be enough to catapult him to Washington.
"What it said to me was that more people were familiar with the state fish in South Dakota than were familiar with who I was," Johnson Jr. joked. "And frankly, the state fish was a lot more popular."
"I took a look at that poll and it was a dose of humility," he added.
"You know what they say about sons of politicians," Johnson added. "You inherit half your dad's friends and all of his enemies, and I clearly had the enemy part down."
Johnson hinted that he might be interested in running for office after he leaves the job as his state's top federal prosecutor.
"Sometimes it depends on what day you ask," he said. "Sometimes I do have an interest in it."
But, Johnson added, other times he said he looks at partisan politics and prefers to stay in his current position.
The likely Democratic candidate for the elder Johnson's seat is Rick Weiland, onetime top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. He is an underdog against the likely Republican nominee, the Mount Rushmore State's former governor, Mike Rounds.
John Gizzi is special political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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