South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) will not run for re-election, according to a report confirmed by The Hill. He will announce his decision at University of South Dakota, his alma mater, on Thursday. Sen. Johnson is the fifth Democratic Senator to announce that he is retiring. Even more important, Sen. Johnson comes from the red state of South Dakota, which Republicans see as a prime pick-up. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in order to take back the upper chamber. Republicans were already eyeing his seat, which lies in a state Romney won with fifty-seven percent, in addition to West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller is retiring. Republicans already have a candidate in former Governor Mike Rounds, who is polling well. However, the seat could stay with the Johnson family, as his son, South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, is potentially eyeing a run.
Sen. Johnson, who is serving is third term, had signaled that he would not be running by voting for the Democratic budget. Several Democratic Senators who are running for re-election ended up not voting for the budget, saying it does not go far enough to cut the deficit. A brain hemorrhage in 2006 left the Senator out of Congress for a year.