Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Election Profile: South Dakota U.S. House (At-large) (2008)

Bookmark and Share

Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of all the Upper Midwestern U.S. Senate and U.S. House races leading up to the November 4th elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The first in the series is South Dakota's at-large U.S. House race.

Candidates:
Democrat: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (3-term incumbent)
Republican: Chris Lien

District Geography: This is an at-large seat, encompassing the entire state of South Dakota.

History: Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won South Dakota's at-large seat to the U.S. House of Representatives in a June 2004 special election. The special election was called to fill the seat vacated by Representative William Janklow who resigned in January of that year after being convicted of manslaughter for killing a motorcyclist with his automobile. Herseth edged Republican nominee Larry Diedrich by just two points (approximately 3,000 votes). The two candidates squared off again in November 2004, with Herseth winning by 7.5 points. In 2006, Herseth handily won her third term with a 39.8-point victory over Bruce Whalen.

Democrats won the first seven at-large races when the number of South Dakota's representatives dropped from two to one in 1982. Since statehood, Republicans have won 93 races, compared to just 25 for the Democrats, and 2 to the People's Party.

Outlook: Herseth Sandlin is one of three Blue Dog Democrats in the Upper Midwest and is a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Resources Committee, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. The top priorities of her campaign are ensuring quality and affordable health care, fighting for family farms and ranches, adequately funding public education, increasing benefits to veterans, and improving the lives of Native Americans.

Lien, a businessman, is running as an anti-Washington, D.C., anti-lobbyist outsider, with an emphasis on finding solutions to the nation's rising health care costs and energy prices as well as addressing the issues of border security and illegal immigration.

Herseth's family has a long political history in the state - her grandfather was governor of South Dakota, her grandmother was Secretary of State, and her father served in the state legislature for twenty years and was the Democratic Party's nominee for governor in 1986. Herseth's strong name recognition, her incumbency advantage, and her strong popularity should insure this Blue Dog Democrat remains in the US House.

Previous post: Upper Midwestern House Delegation Split in Support of Financial Industry Bailout Bill
Next post: Election Profile: South Dakota U.S. Senate

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting