Sources tell Reuters that Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) does not plan to run for re-election when his current term ends in 2014.
Electoral-Vote.com rates Johnson’s seat as “strongly Democratic” — although that could obviously change. Right now that rating is based on polling of Johnson v. generic Republican. The GOP will be eager to pick up the seat, since 2014 probably represents the party’s last chance for a Senate majority for quite a while, if they can manage it at all.
You might remember a time when Johnson was much more pivotal to Republican hopes in the Senate. In December of 2006, Sen. Johnson suffered a severe stroke. Rightwing vultures circled, hoping he wouldn’t make it. South Dakota’s governor was Republican and Democrats had a one seat majority. Had Gov. Michael Rounds been able to appoint a Senator, control of the Senate would switch and the political landscape would’ve changed drastically. Without Johnson holding his seat, the damage done by the presidency of George W. Bush would likely have been much worse.