UPDATE: SD Sen. Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014
South Dakota Democratic Senator Tim Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday.
VERMILLION, SD (KTIV) -
"It is time for me to say good bye," said Sen. Tim Johnson.
Although U.S. Senator Tim Johnson's retirement might have been expected by some, that didn't make the news any easier for his hometown of Vermillion.
"I'm proud of my record and I'm proud of the moderation that I have brought to South Dakota," said Sen. Tim Johnson, (D) South Dakota.
Standing beside his wife, Barbara, Johnson said he'll retire when his third term ends in 2014. Johnson suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006 during his second term. While he says he feels great, he admits there are still some issues.
"My right arm and my right leg aren't what they used to be and my speech is not entirely there," said Johnson.
While the 66-year-old Johnson says he's been contemplating this decision for some time, he wanted to make his announcement in the community that first embraced him, and elected him to the state legislature in 1978.
"I think it's very cool that he chose to come home and announce. I think that says a lot for how he's handled things, how he's served South Dakota. I think that really speaks to how he's served our state," said Erik Muckey, USD's Student Government President.
"I had encouraged him at one time to stay in the race, but I could tell that it was going to be difficult for him and it is time for him to take some time for himself," said Nancy McCahren, a former USD professor and friend of Johnson's.
Some speculate that his son, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, might follow in his footsteps.
"There's several good candidates out there and you'll have to ask Brendan about that," said Johnson.
And without an election to worry about, Johnson says next fall will certainly be different.
"It will be strange, but I'm certain that I'll get over it," said Johnson.
Johnson won't be running for re-election in 2014, but that doesn't mean he doesn't think he could win if he ran.
"I've never been beaten," said Johnson.
Johnson spent eight years in the state Legislature, 10 in the U.S. House and will complete 18 years in the Senate next year. He's now the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
As for retirement plans? Johnson says he plans to spend more time with his six grandkids.
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