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.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.