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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

What Does the Herseth Victory Mean? 

Last night, Stephanie Herseth (D) defeated Larry Diedrich (R) in the race to fill South Dakota's lone seat in the US House of Representatives. Although the seat will be contested again in November, both parties and the bulk of the blogosphere have fastened on last night's results as somehow being a bellwether for the big South Dakota Senate race (where Minority Leader Tom Daschle's seat is at stake) or even for post-election partisan control of each house of Congress.

The race, by the way, was REALLY close. What does this mean? Will November 2004 look like November 1994 in reverse? Does Herseth's narrow margin mean that Daschle is in big trouble?

The New Republic says (and I agree): who knows? There are really good reasons not to extrapolate from last nights results. I'd add to the points made in the article that despite the relatively large amounts of time and money spent by the two national parties on this race, we're likely to see wholly different determinants of turnout in November, when the Presidential race (and lots of local issues) are going to be on the ballot.

Still, it's tough not to smile at the thought of one fewer Republican seat in the House. And this NY Times article on Democratic prospects for retaking the Senate is nice to read as well...

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