One could almost hear the collective sighs of relief among South Dakota Republicans as two-term Rep. Kristi Noem announced on Wednesday that she would not seek the Republican nomination for senator in 2014.
Her decision spares the GOP the anguish of a divisive primary between Noem and the long-presumed favorite, former two-term Gov. Mike Rounds.
Noem, a tea party favorite who had been encouraged to run by the conservative Club for Growth, said she wanted to continue her work in the House, where Republicans are expected to maintain their majority next year.
With the nomination seemingly assured, Rounds is the heavy favorite to pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson. The expected Democratic nominee is former U.S. Senate staffer Rick Weiland.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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