There’s heavy speculation that two-term Gov. Mike Rounds is close to making an announcement that he will run for Tim Johnson’s Senate seat in 2014. Rounds has already formed an exploratory committee, a prelude to making the jump to official candidate.
There are advantages to getting into the race early. For one, it could dissuade other Republicans from jumping into the race. It gives him a lot of time to raise money for what could be an expensive campaign. And it puts more pressure on Johnson to make a decision. If Johnson isn’t going to run, Democrats will need a candidate who also has the time to raise money and lay the groundwork for a campaign.
On the other hand, there are disadvantages. Once he becomes a candidate, Rounds risks being overexposed. He will be asked, now that he’s running, to comment on controversial issues in Washington. If he shows up too often on television or elsewhere, he risks alienating some voters, who, coming off a presidential election, are tired of politics.
Regardless, Rounds will prove to be a formidable candidate, perhaps the most formidable candidate that Republicans can field.