Matt Varilek left Sen. Tim Johnson’s staff on Dec. 1, 2011 to run for the U.S. House. He won the nomination against Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth. He ran a spirited campaign against Rep. Kristi Noem. And his bid fell short.
Word arrives that Varilek will resume a position with Johnson, working on his staff here in South Dakota. He’s come full circle.
Could there be some awkward moments in the future? Varilek will likely be representing Johnson at key constituent meetings across the state, like he did when he was Johnson’s economic development guy before running for House. Perhaps Noem will be attending some of those same events. Varilek accused Noem of being a loafer during the campaign. Noem, meanwhile, attacked Varilek as a globe-trotting environmental socialist.
But if Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can have lunch together, maybe an easy peace can develop between Varilek and Noem. Or maybe not.