Republicans are favored to pick up Johnson's open seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
South Dakota Democratic Senate hopeful Rick Weiland apparently is not so hopeful.
Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds is the clear front-runner for the state’s open Senate seat, and Weiland accidentally ceded that fact at a debate Wednesday.
“Senator — or, soon-to-be —” Weiland said before catching himself and laughing. “No, not soon-to-be. That’s a good gaffe. I’ll take that back. Soon-to-want-to-be Sen. Mike Rounds.”
Rounds and Weiland won’t be alone on the general-election ballot. Two independent candidates are also running: former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie. Pressler was realistic about his chances in a November interview with CQ Roll Call, saying, “If I win, I might demand a recount.”
The candidates are vying for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson. After Democrats failed to recruit a top candidate, the seat became among the most likely pickups for Republicans — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this week Democrats will “more than likely” lose it.