Thune to Challenge Daschle

Former Congressman John Thune apparently will announce tonight that he will run against Tom Daschle next year. Can he win? It will be close, but he will be a distinct underdog. Losing to Tim Johnson, however narrowly, took some of Thune’s luster away. Daschle’s popularity has slipped too, and the main rationale for electing a Democratic Senator in a Republican state–Daschle brought home the bacon–is largely gone now that the Democrats are in the minority, and will be for the foreseeable future. Still, Daschle is an excellent retail politician with a lot of stature in South Dakota, and I’ll be surprised if he can’t pull this race out, even if President Bush carries the state in a landslide.
For the up-to-date developments on this race, check out South Dakota Politics.

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