Tim Johnson

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U.S. Senator

Tim Johnson




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the SD-Senate Class II Seat:
(Next election: 4 November 2014)

Confirmed: None so far
Considering: None so far
Rumored: None so far
Potential: None so far
Dropped-out: None so far
(more info and editing for the SD-Senate Class II Seat)
On the Web
Official website

This article is about the U.S. Senator from South Dakota. For the U.S. Representative from Illinois, see Tim V. Johnson.

Timothy Peter Johnson is the Senior Senator from South Dakota. He is a Democrat and was first elected in 1996.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union not avail. not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action not avail. not avail.
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce not avail. not avail.

Iraq War

Johnson voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal


Johnson was born December 28, 1946 in Canton, South Dakota. He earned his B.A. in 1969 and an M.A. in 1970, both from the University of South Dakota. After doing post-graduate studies at Michigan State University from 1970-71, he earned a J.D. from the University of South Dakota in 1975. He served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1979-82 and in the South Dakota Senate from 1983-86. He served in the House of Representatives, representing South Dakota at-large, from 1987-97.

Johnson defeated three-term Senator Larry Pressler in 1996. He defeated his successor in the at-large House seat, U.S. Representative John Thune, by 524 votes to win re-election in 2002. His re-election race was widely seen as a proxy battle between President George W. Bush, who had carried South Dakota comfortably in 2000, and the state's senior Senator and Johnson's fellow Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who was up for re-election in 2004.

Johnson is one of the more conservative Democrats in the Senate. While in the House, he was among the minority of his party to vote in favor of the welfare reform measure, the Personal Responsibility Act of 1995, and another bill to repeal the ban on semi-automatic weapons. He was among the minority of Democrats to vote for the 2001 tax cut. On January 31, 2006, Johnson was one of only four Democrats to vote to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

Suffers brain hemorrhage

On December 13, Johnson was rushed from Capitol Hill to George Washington University Hospital after suffering stroke-like symptoms. His condition first appeared when he became disoriented during a conference call with reporters, stuttering in response to a question. He recovered, ended the news conference and walked back to his Senate office where he was examined by a Capitol physician and then taken to the hospital. It was initially reported by some, including Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.), that Johnson had suffered a stroke. Later that night, hospital officials announced that he had suffered neither a stroke nor a heart attack, but that he was undergoing brain surgery. [1] [2] [3]

On the morning of December 14, hospital officials listed Johnson's condition as "critical." Around 9:30 a.m., John Eisold, an attending physician, stated:

Subsequent to his admission to George Washington University Hospital yesterday, Senator Tim Johnson was found to have had an intracerebral bleed caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation...He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation. The Senator is recovering without complication in the critical care unit at George Washington University Hospital...it is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long term prognosis. [4] [5] [6]

Johnson had, unknowingly, suffered from the condition his entire life. [7] [8] [9]

After visiting Johnson at the hospital on the morning of December 14, Senate Majority-Leader elect Harry Reid (D-Nev.) commented that, "He looked very, very good." [10]

Long recovery expected

On January 4, 2007, a statement issued by Johnson's office reported that while the senator's "overall medical condition had improved steadily" since the operation, he faced several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, head of Mr. Johnson’s surgical team, said in a statement that the senator “continues to be responsive to both his family and physicians — following commands, squeezing his wife’s hand and understanding speech.” [11]

Condition has improved

On January 9, 2007, Johnson's office stated that his condition had been upgraded from critical to fair. Spokeswoman Julianne Fisher further confirmed that, "The senator continues to make progress...The next step would be rehabilitation, and we hope that would happen within the week." [12]

On February 1, 2007, Johnson's office stated that he was reading and talking in limited sentences. Doctors expected that progress would continue. [13]

On February 9, 2007, Johnson's office said that Johnson had begun doing some office work in the hospital where he was recovering. In a statement, it said "We do not anticipate him back (in the Senate) for several weeks...We are bringing work to him rather than him coming to us. His first priority still is rehabilitation." [14]

On February 20, 2007, Johnson was discharged from the hospital to continue recovery in a "private rehabilitation facility." [15]

On June 7, 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that Johnson would likely return to the Senate in September of that year.[16]

On August 7, 2007, Johnson announced that he planned to return to his home in South Dakota in late August. It would be the first time the Senator was in his home state since suffering his brain aneurysm. He stated "I know my return has taken longer than some people have liked — count me among them," in what was his first extended public statement since the incident.[1]

Political ramifications

Johnson's uncertain condition immediately led to discussion regarding the political ramifications of the matter. At the time of his illness, Democrats were poised to take control of the Senate with a one-seat margin during the 110th Congress (which was to begin three weeks later). The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution declares that when Senate vacancies open in a state, “The legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.” Under South Dakota law, a special election is to be called when a seat is vacant, except when the vacating member's term is up during the next election cycle. Because Johnson is indeed up for reelection in 2008, South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson said, "If there's a vacancy, the governor (Republican Mike Rounds) appoints a replacement who serves until the next general election." If Rounds chose a Republican for the slot, the Senate would become split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. [17] Because Vice-President Dick Cheney would cast tie-breaking votes, the Senate would officially revert to a Republican majority. According to the Senate historian, Richard Baker, vacancies can occur only "by death or resignation." He added, "Nobody has the power to determine a vacancy for a person who is still living."[18] [19] [20] [21]

The Senate had last faced a situation such as this in 1969 when Sen. Karl Mundt (R-S.D.) suffered an incapacitating stroke. In that case, Mundt remained in office until his term expired in January 1973. Mundt was pressured repeatedly to step down during his illness, but he refused because the sitting governor refused to meet his demand that the governor appoint his wife to fill the seat. [22] [23] [24]

In January 2007, Sen. Tim Johnson, (D-S.D.) was named Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, however, due to his absence Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-Calif.) was named Interim Chair until his return. (Monterey Herald Story)

Return to public life

On August 28, 2007, Johnson appeared at a "Welcome Home" rally in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he was introduced by a group of South Dakota officials, including Republican Governor Mike Rounds and Senator John Thune. Johnson was wheeled to the podium, where he got up with little or no assistance and spoke to the crowd.[2]

"You guys are a sight for sore eyes," Johnson said to widespread applause.[3]

"It must already be clear to you that my speech is not 100 percent, but doctors tell me that it will get there. In fact, if you ask [my wife] Barb, she will say that I’m already talking too much," he joked.[4]

Johnson also pledged to work harder than ever for his state. He was expected to return to the Senate within a few weeks of the appearance.[5]

In an interview with ABC News, after the rally, Johnson said that he planned to seek reelection in 2008. He stated, "I expect to run and to win."[6]

On September 5, 2007, Johnson returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain hemorrhage. "It feels good and I'm ready to go," he commented. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent an email to Democratic supporters saying, "In honor of his first day back in the Senate, help me welcome Tim with a contribution to his campaign."[7]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
DonorAmount (US Dollars)
Citigroup Inc$ 65,000
Capital One Financial$ 51,000
Blackrock Inc$ 22,500
Cowen Group$ 17,000
Corstone Capital$ 15,000
PricewaterhouseCoopers$ 15,000
Prudential Financial$ 13,000
Arnold & Porter$ 11,249
American Financial Services Assn$ 11,000
Barclays$ 11,000
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' www.OpenSecrets.org site.
Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Links to more campaign contribution information for Tim Johnson
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Tim Johnson. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 136 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-5842 Fax: 202-228-5765
    Webform email
District offices
  • 320 South First Street, Suite 103, Aberdeen, SD 57401
    Ph: 605-226-3440 Fax: (none entered)
  • 715 South Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104
    Ph: 605-332-8896 Fax: (none entered)
  • 405 East Omaha Street, Suite B, Rapid City, SD 57701
    Ph: 605-341-3990 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and Resources


  1. David M. Drucker, "Johnson Announces Return to South Dakota," Roll Call, August 7, 2007.
  2. Aaron Blake, "Johnson makes public return in Sioux Falls," The Hill, August 28, 2007.
  3. Aaron Blake, "Johnson makes public return in Sioux Falls," The Hill, August 28, 2007.
  4. Aaron Blake, "Johnson makes public return in Sioux Falls," The Hill, August 28, 2007.
  5. Aaron Blake, "Johnson makes public return in Sioux Falls," The Hill, August 28, 2007.
  6. Dan Morris and Jaime Hennessey, "Sen. Tim Johnson's Second Chance at Life and Work," ABC News, August 28, 2007.
  7. "A weaker Sen. Johnson returns to Senate," The Associated Press via The Politico, September 5, 2007.

External resources

External articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

Semantic data (Edit data)