Skip to comments.Post-Ky., S.D. takes GOP’s center stage
Posted on 02/24/2004 12:56:34 PM PST by KQQL
Republicans are reeling after the Democrats special-election victory last week in Kentucky, but they are gearing up for another big fight, in South Dakota.
With three months to go until the June 1 special election, Republican state Sen. Larry Diedrich, the GOPs candidate to replace Bill Janklow (R), has been making fundraising visits to House Republicans and the House Republican Conference office.
His opponent is Democratic attorney Stephanie Herseth, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has begun asking House members to help Diedrich add to his war chest.
NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said fundraising efforts will likely parallel those in the Kentucky race. There, Republican state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr raised twice as much as Democrat Ben Chandler, although she ultimately lost the race.
Diedrich said he has raised nearly $300,000 in the three weeks since the state Republican Party chose him as the candidate. Some of this money has come from the NRCC and Hill lawmakers. He said he does not know who has given the money, or exactly how much. With the Kentucky race over, House members and the national committee would now focus more on his race, he said.
Last week, Diedrich traveled to Washington to meet Republican members and garner additional support. He was pleased with his reception, saying, The commitment has been, You tell us what you want.
He intends to return to Washington this month to continue campaigning and raising money.
Herseth has similarly had no problem raising money on Capitol Hill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosis leadership political action committee, PAC to the Future, has made two contributions of $5,000 each.
Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), who also faces South Dakota voters this year, has contributed $2,000, and Rep. Bob Matsui (D-Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), gave Herseth $1,000.
Herseth has raised nearly $700,000 so far, spokesman Russ Levsen said. Herseth has not received any firm commitments from House members to campaign with her in the state, Levsen said, but he added that he wouldnt be surprised if members join her on the trail.
Herseth had been in contact with the DCCC, he said, and there has been more of a focus on the South Dakota race in the past week.
DCCC spokeswoman Kori Bernards declined to specify how much money the party has raised for the South Dakota election but said, Were going to be very competitive.
Bernards said the committee would most likely use a strategy similar to the one that helped Chandler win in Kentucky a combination of television ads designed to highlight the strength of the candidate and get-out-the-vote efforts that tap into anti-Bush sentiment.
Theres definitely a strong feeling that the countrys not going in the right direction, Bernards said. That feeling was helpful in mobilizing the party base and swing voters in Kentucky. Kerr had tied her campaign to Bushs popularity, using him in television ads and saying the two had similar stands on many issues.
Forti blamed Kerrs defeat partly on Chandlers fiscally conservative message, which drew Republicans to his cause, and on the Democrats tremendous name ID.
Chandler served in state government for 12 years, both as an auditor and attorney general. His grandfather, A.B. Happy Chandler, was a well-known politician who served twice as governor and once in the Senate.
More recently, the Democrat ran unsuccessfully for governor against then-Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.). The special election was held to fill Fletchers seat.
It was hard to catch up, Forti said. Were not going to have that problem in South Dakota.
This is Herseths second run for the at-large seat. The Democrat, who comes from an established political family in South Dakota, lost her 2002 bid against Janklow.
Janklow won the race with 53 percent of the vote, eclipsing Herseth by nearly 27,000 votes. The first-term congressman, who formerly served as governor, resigned from his House seat after being convicted in a traffic accident that killed a motorcyclist. Janklow is serving 100 days in prison.
TRANSLATION: "We really want all of the readers reading this to think that the GOP hasn't really got anything going for itself and that the massive victories including Bush in 2000, and the MID-Season elections heavily favoring GOP except for Louisiana are nothing and that the GOP is going down down down. Believe it believe it we can make a difference, after this is objective reporting!!!"
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It is likely that Herseth's support is far softer than Chandler's.
Like I said, I hope I'm wrong. This situation sounds exactly like KY to me. Albent Larry has much more time to get his message out. We'll see.
That doesn't mean he was particularly popular -- nor unpopular either. Janklow is known to butt heads with anything that moves. Not the warm, fuzzy type. The new vs. old comparison with Herseth didn't help him either.
She is obviously a very dynamic campaigner.
That is true, and Diedrich is certainly the underdog.
How old is Diedrich? Is he a high-energy guy who can compete with her on the stump?
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