Former GOP South Dakota senator readies independent bid

Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) is close to launching his bid as an independent.

Pressler has scheduled press conferences around the state for Dec. 30 and tells the Rapid City Journal he's "moving in the direction of announcing" a campaign.

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The former senator served in Congress as a Republican for more than two decades, leaving in 1996.

His bid could complicate a Senate race that currently leans towards the GOP. Democrats have failed to land a top-tier recruit to replace Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and appear likely to nominate Rick Weiland (D), who has run and lost statewide races before. It appears former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is in good shape against his primary opponents.

If Pressler can pull a large chunk of votes in the state he could inject a bit of uncertainty into what has been a fairly quiet race so far.