Senator Tim Johnson is being coy about his political future.
Last week, moments after former Governor Mike Rounds announced he's running for Johnson's seat, Johnson issued a statement saying he planned to put together a strong campaign. Johnson clarified the statement on Wednesday.
Johnson: I should have added more clarity to my comments. Um, if I run again, I will run a strong campaign is what it meant. But only if I run again and it is far too soon to make that statement. We are still in the lame duck session of the 112th Congress and we face a fiscal cliff, the debt limit, the farm bill and a number of other important issues to South Dakota and America. And I intend to keep my focus on those issues throughout the rest of the year and I'll announce if I am going to run again next year.
Reporter: I wonder if you could tell us what kind of pressure you are experiencing from the Democratic leadership that's already looking to the 2014 election and worrying about maintaining the Democratic majority in the chamber?
Johnson: I've had discussions with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, but there is no pressure on me. Instead, I'll focus on the issues of the day: the fiscal cliff, the debt limit and the farm bill, and so on. But there's no particular pressure on me. It's still early.
Reporter: A couple of newspapers around the state, I believe, have raised the issue of your health with regards to a potential other campaign; I was wondering maybe if you could address that. If you would be up to...you know as well as anyone how demanding a campaign can be. If you could address if you're physically up to the challenges stumping around the state, debating, things like that?
Johnson: Yes, I am. I proved that subsequent to my AVM, when I won re-election and I am good to go. I feel great and my health has nothing to do with it. I will decide based on my goals and other matters. But I'm healthy. I feel great.
Johnson had brain surgery six years ago.
He plans to announce his intentions next year.
Click on the attached video player to listen to Johnson's most recent statement.