Former Gov. Mike Rounds won the Republican nomination for Senate in South Dakota Tuesday.
Rounds, a popular former governor, is expected to all-but coast to the Senate seat in November. The seat is open because Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is retiring at the end of this year.
In the primary, Rounds bested state Sens. Stace Nelson and Larry Rhoden, Army Reserves Maj. Jason Ravnsborg, and Dr. Annette Bosworth. When The Associated Press called the race around 9:35 EST, Rounds led with 58 percent of the vote. Rounds will face Democrat Rick Weiland, a former aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, in the general election.
Weiland ran unopposed in the primary after Democrats failed to land either of their top recruits – former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., or U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, the senator’s son.
The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Appointed Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., and Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., will square off in the November Senate race. Walsh defeated former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and rancher Dirk Adams to win the Democratic nomination. Daines, Montana’s sole House member, defeated nominal opposition to secure the Republican nod.
The race is seen as a potential pickup opportunity for Republicans in their quest to take the Senate. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., resigned from the seat earlier this year to take a post as U.S. ambassador to China. The governor appointed Walsh to serve out Baucus’ term.
The race is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Montana At-Large State Sen. Ryan Zinke secured the Republican nomination in the race to replace GOP Rep. Steve Daines as Montana’s sole House member.
Zinke won with 33 percent of the vote, with 94 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP. State Sen. Corey Stapleton came in second place with 29 percent, followed by state Sen. Matt Rosendale, also with 29 percent.
Zinke was the frontrunner early on in the race, although sources said Stapleton gained momentum in the final days of the campaign. They added this House race was not nasty in tone and expect candidates to coalesce quickly around the nominee.
The Republican outlook for holding the seat is bright, but Democrats are hoping to compete there this fall.
In March, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel named the at-large seat a top target . However, the Treasure State did not surface in the committee’s first round of media buy reservations .
Democrats are united behind their candidate, former Senate aide John Lewis . Lewis, who reported $519,000 in cash on hand in his pre-primary report, easily secured his nomination Tuesday.
As for other national implications, Arntzen’s loss is a setback for Project GROW , a House Republican initiative to help elect female candidates.
The race is rated Favored Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.