Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Election Profile: South Dakota's At-Large Congressional Seat

Bookmark and Share

Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of Upper Midwestern congressional races leading up to the November 2nd elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The sixth profile in the series is South Dakota's at-large congressional seat.

Candidates:
Democrat: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (4-term incumbent)
Republican: Kristi Noem
Independent: B. Thomas Marking

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 GOPer Bruce Whalen and defeated Republican Chris Lien by 35.1 points two years ago.

Herseth Sandlin is one of three Blue Dog Democrats in the Upper Midwest and serves on the coalition's leadership team as the Co-Chair for Administration. The Congresswoman is also a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Resources Committee, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Herseth Sandlin's 2010 Republican opponent is Kristi Noem, from Castlewood. Noem is the Assistant Majority Leader in South Dakota's House of Representatives, representing HD 06, comprising Beadle, Clark, Codington, Hamlin, and Kingsbury Counties.

Independent candidate B. Thomas Marking, from Custer, is also on the ballot - the first time an independent has run for U.S. House in South Dakota since 1996, when two independent candidates tallied 5.3 percent of the vote.

Outlook:
Democrats won the first seven at-large races, and 11 of 15 overall, since the number of South Dakota's representatives dropped from two to one in 1982. Since statehood, Republicans have won 93 U.S. House races, compared to just 26 for the Democrats, and 2 to the People's Party.

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.

Despite her strong name recognition and her vote against the unpopular health care bill earlier this year, Herseth Sandlin is in a dead heat with Roem. Put simply, this is not a year to be a Democratic incumbent in a statewide election in the Mount Rushmore State.

If Roem should upset the Congresswoman on Tuesday, Herseth Sandlin's plunge from a 35.1-point victory over her GOP rival in 2008 to a loss in 2010 would mark the biggest fall by a U.S. House incumbent in Mount Rushmore State history.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Election Profile: Iowa's 5th Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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