PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Former South Dakota U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said Monday she will not seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson.
Herseth Sandlin, 42, announced her decision on her Facebook page Monday morning and confirmed it to The Associated Press. The Democrat said she decided not to seek her party's nomination for the U.S. Senate because she wants to focus on her family and her job as an attorney and vice president for Raven Industries, a Sioux Falls-based company that makes an array of specialty products for the agricultural, aviation and construction industries.
"I've decided not to run for office in 2014," Herseth Sandlin told The Associated Press.
On her Facebook page, Herseth Sandlin noted that many Democrats had urged her to run for the seat now held by Johnson, a fellow Democrat who announced earlier he will not seek a fourth term next year. She and her husband, Max, and their son, Zachary, live in Sioux Falls, and Herseth Sandlin said her son will be starting kindergarten next year just before the general election.
"We're looking forward to more quality time with family and friends here in Sioux Falls, up at the farm and out on the river. And my career at Raven Industries is everything I had anticipated and more, and continues to be very rewarding," Herseth Sandlin wrote.
Herseth Sandlin lost her first run for Congress in 2002 but won a special election in June 2004. She was later re-elected to three full terms in the U.S. House before losing a re-election bid in 2010 to Republican Kristi Noem.
The only announced candidates for Johnson's seat are former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds and Democrat Rick Weiland, an ex-staffer for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Johnson's son, Brendan Johnson, has also been encouraged to run for the Senate seat, but he has refused to comment on any political plans, saying he remains focused on his job as U.S. attorney for South Dakota.
When Weiland announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination last week, he said he decided to run because he's convinced that Brendan Johnson will not enter the race.