The 2012 elections are barely in the rearview mirror, but two candidates have already jumped into 2014 Senate races.
Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds announced on Thursday his bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson.
The Republican governor's announcement was widely expected, as Rounds said in September that he was setting up a committee to explore a run for the Senate.
Speaking to reporters Thursday morning in Pierre, South Dakota's capital city, Rounds said he wants to end the gridlock in Washington, reduce the federal government's deficit, and straighten out health care reform. He also talked about politicians getting along, saying "we need to become a country of cooperation instead of confrontation."
Johnson, a former state lawmaker, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986 and to the Senate in 1996. He had prostate cancer in 2004 and had an operation in 2006 to stop bleeding in his brain.
Johnson has yet to announce if he'll run for a fourth term in the Senate in 2014. But in a statement Thursday following Rounds' announcement, Johnson said "as in past campaigns, I will make my formal announcement later next year. But I feel great, still have work to do, and I fully intend to put together a winning campaign in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, I intend to continue to focus on my important work representing South Dakota."
Rounds was a state senator for ten years before serving two terms as governor from 2003 to 2011. Since leaving office, he's served as the head of an insurance and real estate company in Pierre.
Earlier this week GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced a 2014 bid for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Rockefeller has also yet to announce if he'll run again in 2014.
The Democrats will hold a 55-45 advantage in the incoming Senate, but will be defending 20 of the 33 Senate seats up for grabs in 2014.