Herseth Sandlin Likely to Join Lobby Firm

Posted February 17, 2011 at 10:20am

Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who lost her re-election bid last year, is in serious and final negotiations to join the law and lobbying firm Olsson Frank Weeda, three sources confirmed to Roll Call.

Herseth Sandlin, 40, was a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition in Congress and is viewed as a moderate, pro-business politician. That makes her an especially appealing job candidate on K Street.

In addition, her husband, former Rep. Max Sandlin (D-Texas), is a partner in the lobbying and public affairs firm Mercury.

If Herseth Sandlin joins Olsson Frank Weeda, she will not be the only former Blue Dog Member of Congress there. Already, former Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-Texas) is a senior policy adviser and represents several lobbying interests including the American Petroleum Institute and Kraft Foods Global, according to Senate lobbying disclosures.

The firm’s Marshall Matz, a fellow South Dakotan, could not be immediately reached for comment, and others at the firm declined comment.

As recently as Wednesday, the Rapid City Journal reported that the ex-Congresswoman was still considering a bid for her old seat in the 2012 elections. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday he has exchanged e-mails with Sandlin, who lost by 7,000 votes in a statewide race against now-Rep. Kristi Noem (R) last fall.

“She hasn’t told us whether she’s interested or not,” Israel said. “But we would love to have her back and we think she’d be a very strong candidate.”

Herseth Sandlin told the Rapid City Journal that she has “been doing a lot of traveling and spending time with family and friends.”

“It’s pretty early in the new Congress. I’m exploring all my professional options, looking for my own personal balance,” Sandlin told the paper. “I’m looking forward to sitting down with the chairman, but I haven’t made any decisions about what I’ll do politically. It’s too early.”