Democrat Scott Heidepriem, the state Senate minority leader in South Dakota, has made his 2010 candidacy for governor official, after telling CQ Politics last week that he was committed to the contest.
Although conservative-leaning South Dakota is generally favorable turf for Republicans, Heidepriem gives the Democrats a top-tier candidate for a governor’s seat that their party hasn’t won since 1974. He is seeking to succeed term-limited Republican Michael Rounds , in a contest that appears likely to draw a crowded GOP primary field.
Heidepriem’s decision to run brought relief to Democratic officials, who had recruiting worries after popular at-large U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin decided to pursue another term in the House rather than run for governor. Herseth Sandlin, who has easily won her recent races for a House seat that amounts to a statewide office, had been regarded as the party’s strongest potential candidate for governor.