Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

South Dakota Republicans Await Thune's 2016 Decision

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
If Thune runs for president in 2016, he will have to give up his Senate seat because state law prevents him from appearing on the ballot twice.

On the Democratic side, operatives from both parties say the bench is thinner. Despite the stateís large group of registered independents, South Dakota has trended more and more Republican over the past few cycles.

However, operatives say a bright spot for the Democratic Party is Brendan Johnson. Heís the son of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson and a U.S. attorney in South Dakota. Democrats say the younger Johnson could run for a number of spots in the coming years, including future bids for governor, Senate or the at-large House seat ó though he turned down the opportunity to run in 2014 for his fatherís seat.

Democratic operatives add that former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., the first woman elected to Congress from South Dakota, is also a strong candidate who could make another credible run for office. Of course, Herseth Sandlin also declined to run for the current Senate opening, and itís unclear whether future political bids are in store for her.

Farm Team is a weekly state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress.

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