Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) easily won the Republican nod for Senate Tuesday night, setting the GOP up for a likely pickup in November.
Rounds took 58 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the race, with none of his four primary opponents topping 20 percent support.
He’ll face former FEMA adviser Rick Weiland in the general, a political newcomer and the only Democrat to run after two top-tier party recruits opted out of the race. Though Weiland is Democrats’ only option, he’s had a lukewarm reception from national Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unsuccessfully tried to recruit another option into the race.
Weiland’s candidacy, coupled with the increasingly red lean of the state, have Republicans enthusiastic about their chances of flipping the seat of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D).
Picking up the seat is a key part of the GOP’s calculus in getting to six seats they need to take control of the Senate this fall.
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