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The Dems are hoping for momentum to take back the House


Will GOPer Pull Upset in South Dakota?

The Dems are hoping for momentum to take back the House

With four days to go before the special U.S. House election in South Dakota, Republicans in the state and in Washington have begun to grow upbeat about retaining a seat they had privately written off less than a month ago.

Almost since the resignation of Republican Rep. Bill Janklow following his conviction on manslaughter charges, Democrat Stephanie Herseth (who drew an impressive 54% of the vote against Janklow in ’02) has appeared a slam-dunk. A win by lawyer Herseth–grand-daughter of a former governor, daughter of a past gubernatorial nominee–over Republican State Sen. Larry Diederich would unquestionably boost Democratic chances (and fund-raising) for recapture of the House itself in the fall. Polls showed Herseth with double digit leads over the lesser-known Diederich.

But earlier this week, it was growing obvious that Diederich had narrowed the gap through hard-campaigning, closely associating himself with President Bush (who holds a 51% to 35% statewide lead over John Kerry, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader poll), and spirited attacks on Herseth’s support from outside left-wing groups such as EMILY’s List. One Democratic survey reportedly showed Herseth barely clinging to a one-percentage point edge over her hard-charging opponent.

So worried were Democratic powers about the race that Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) began campaigning for Herseth. At one rally last Saturday, Johnson told a cheering crowd “how sweet it’s going to be” when Herseth wins and “the Taliban wing of the Republican Party finds out what’s happening in South Dakota.”

Overnight, Republicans from National Chairman Ed Gillespie on down demanded that Johnson apologize and that Herseth and other Democrats disassociate themselves from remarks which State GOP Chairman Randy Frederick described as “an attack on the character of all Republicans in South Dakota.” The Argus Leader, which had recently endorsed Herseth, also demanded an apology from Johnson. Three days after his incendiary remarks, the senator said (according to UPI) “he was sorry if he had offended anyone and that he wished he had been able to elaborate more on what he meant by comparison.” This was followed with a blast from the Mitchell (S.D.) Daily Republic over the quality of the apology.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ?ť and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ?ť and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â?ť video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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