Veteran GOP operative Dick Wadhams has signed on as general consultant for the leading candidate in one of the GOP’s top Senate pickup opportunities.
Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds announced on Wednesday that he has retained Wadhams to help lead his campaign.
The election next year will come a decade after Wadhams’ last triumph in the state — managing now-Sen. John Thune’s 2004 upset of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
“Dick’s reputation as a battle tested strategist, coupled with his insight into South Dakota’s political landscape make him the perfect complement to our team,” Rounds said in a statement. “We’ve been considering individuals to fill this role for months and we continued to come back to Mr. Wadhams.”
(Read Stuart Rothenberg’s take on this Senate race and more on his blog.)
After the Thune race, Wadhams went on to manage then-Sen. George Allen’s unsuccessful re-election bid in Virginia in 2006 before moving to his home state of Colorado to chair the state party. Last cycle, Wadhams briefly managed Clark Durant’s unsuccessful Senate campaign in Michigan.
For now, Rounds is the only Republican seeking the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, but conservative activists are encouraging others to run as well.
Democrats hope to retain this seat but missed out on their top potential recruit, former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Rick Weiland, a former Daschle aide, is currently the only Democrat in the race.
(Read more about this race in Roll Call: Weiland Is Democrats’ Best Hope in S.D., for Now)