Ever since state Rep. Stace Nelson announced he was exploring an ambiguous run for “federal office,” most political observers have assumed that was just a smokescreen for the one particular federal office he was eyeing: the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tim Johnson.
Today, Nelson made that official and announced he’s now just exploring the U.S. Senate seat.
Nelson, who yesterday held several public events in western South Dakota, said he’s encouraged by the response he received there.
"They have indicated they want the choice of an honest public servant to serve them as their next senator, and many have recognized that public servant in me," Nelson said in a statement.
Nelson is an outspoken conservative who has clashed publicly with Republican leadership in the state House of Representatives, at one point being kicked out of the House GOP caucus.
Former Gov. Mike Rounds is the Republican frontrunner in the U.S. Senate seat. Also running are state Sen. Larry Rhoden and Sioux Falls doctor Annette Bosworth.