Jun 02, 2004
CQ on HersethSOUTH DAKOTA: Herseth’s Win Gives Democrats Bragging Rights
South Dakota, typically one of the most Republican-voting states in the country, now has an all-Democratic congressional delegation: Stephanie Herseth, the party’s nominee, narrowly won the state’s lone House seat in Tuesday’s special election and will join Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson in Washington.
Herseth, who led in the polls throughout the campaign, survived a late campaign surge by Republican state Sen. Larry Diedrich to win by 51 percent to 49 percent.
Victorious in her second try for the seat, Herseth will end the vacancy created when Republican Rep. Bill Janklow resigned in January following his conviction of manslaughter in a car accident last summer that caused the death of a motorcyclist.
Herseth and Diedrich will resume their political rivalry almost immediately, as they are headed for a rematch in November’s general election. Neither had an opponent in the regularly scheduled primary held concurrently with the special election.
With Herseth’s win, Congressional Quarterly has changed its rating on the fall race to Leans Democratic from No Clear Favorite.
Herseth’s swearing-in will fill the only vacant seat in the 435-seat House. It will trim the Republicans’ majority to 228-206, with one Democratic-affiliated independent. The outcome therefore reduced to 11 the number of seats the Democrats must net this year to win control of the House for the first time since they lost it in the 1994 elections.
Democrats wasted no time characterizing the result as a sign of a party on the move. “Stephanie Herseth’s victory in South Dakota is further evidence that Americans are ready for a change in Washington,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokeswoman Kori Bernards.
“Leans Democratic” - gotta like the sound of that. Congrats Stephanie. Oh, and one more note from CQ:
Since the beginning of the 1993-94 election cycle a decade ago, there have been 37 special elections held for U.S. House seats. Only seven of those contests resulted in the seats changing party hands. But both special elections held this year resulted in partisan turnovers, with Democrats winning formerly Republican-held seats in both cases.
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