In one-two developments that could only be called chilling for South Dakota Democrats, their two best-known prospects to keep the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson have taken themselves out of consideration for the 2014 race.
Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who had been considered the Democrats' best hope of retaining the seat, announced she would not run after all.
The exit announcement of Herseth Sandlin, daughter of 1986 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lars Herseth and grand-daughter of former Gov. Ralph Herseth, came on the heels of a similar "no-go" of another second-generation Senate hopeful: U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, son of the retiring senator.
Many observers of South Dakota politics had felt that the timing of the elder Johnson's retirement announcement was to pave the way for a bid by his son.
At this time, the lone Democratic prospect is Rick Weiland, a onetime top aide to the Mount Rushmore State's former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
The likely Republican nominee is former Gov. Mike Rounds, although he is facing increased sniping over his spending policies while in the statehouse and calls for a primary challenge from the Club for Growth.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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