Democrat David Kranz, writing in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, says that people close to Tom Daschle do not expect him to seek re-election to the Senate in 2004. He is likely to run for President; Kranz writes, in what appears to be a non sequitur, that “The perception that he was one of the national losers in [the 2002 election] may drive him closer to a presidential bid.” Lots of luck. He’ll be competing against another of this year’s losers, Dick Gephardt. Kranz says that South Dakota Democrats are scratching their heads over who might replace Daschle as a Senatorial candidate; none of the alternatives appear strong. The Republicans, on the other hand, have two extremely strong candidates, Bill Janklow and John Thune. One of the anomalies of current politics is that the Democrats are competitive in the Senate, despite the fact that a large majority of states usually vote Republican. (Logically, the Democrats should be more competitive in the House, given that their strength is disproportionately in the large-population states.) Nowhere is this anomaly more sriking than in the Dakotas, two Republican states with four Democratic Senators. The Dakotas are the key to the Democrats remaining competitive in the Senate, and starting in 2004, the balance of power will likely start to shift, especially if Daschle does not seek re-election. By the way, Kranz concludes his column by pooh-poohing suspicions about the late influx of votes from the Pine Ridge reservation that swung this year’s election to Tim Johnson.
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