South Dakota: Kirby to Announce His Senate Race Plans Today

Posted March 3, 2008 at 6:36pm

Former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby (R) said Monday that he expects to announce today whether he will run for Senate this year.

“We are announcing one way or the other [Tuesday] morning. That’s a hard stop,” Kirby said in a brief telephone interview.

Kirby’s entrance into the race could turn Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D) re-election bid into a competitive affair. Kirby is personally wealthy and previously has won statewide office, while neither of the current GOP candidates have proved an ability to raise money or garner wide support among even Republican voters.

However, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last week released an internal poll that showed Johnson 51 points up on Kirby, 70 percent to 19 percent. The survey also found Johnson to have a 79 percent favorable rating and a 72 percent job-approval rating.

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters Feb. 25-27 and was conducted for the DSCC by the Feldman Group. It had a margin of error of 4.4 points.

“Tim Johnson is in a commanding position for re-election, with one of the highest job approval ratings of any Senator in the country,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.
— David M. Drucker