The Sioux Falls Argus Leader said the idea that O'Brien, a former sportscaster and entertainment reporter, might return home to South Dakota and run for governor as a Democrat was being used to spur campaign contributions for Rounds' expected 2006 re-election bid.
O'Brien, who graduated from Sioux Falls' Washington High School, has said on more than one occasion he might someday return to South Dakota to enter politics.
South Dakota GOP Chairman Randy Frederick defended the tactic his party is using to increase the size of its campaign war chest. "We have used (O'Brien's) name because his name has been used in media reports. So we are going off those media reports," he said. "Democrats have gone to California in the past to get their money and support, so now, it would make sense that they go there to get their candidate."
O'Brien had no comment concerning his possible candidacy.