Reader Joe Admire reports:
The decision came in well after 2 am. The judge in Daschle v. Thune has essentially thrown the Democratic case out of court. He gave the local GOP a slap on the wrist and old them to stop recording license plate numbers, but that’s IT. Their poll watchers stay right where they are. Daschle has egg all over his face for trying such a stupid stunt. Hoo-HA! 😀 Can’t think of better news to start Election Day with.
Follow the story on Daschle v. Thune — Jon Lauck was in court and live-blogged the hearing — and see also the immediate reaction of Hugh Hewitt.
Given his relationship with Daschle, I don’t know how Judge Piersol could sit on the case. The judge’s ruling only applies to Daschle’s request for a “temporary restraining order” — the most preliminary type of injunctive relief. I’m sure Judge Piersol retains jurisdiction over the case. I can’t imagine the basis for granting any relief at this point, including the prohibition on writing down license plate numbers. But Daschle’s attempt to turn South Dakota into Florida on the day before election day cannot go down well with the good folks of South Dakota.
As for good news, word that President Bush has held his own in the early returns tabulated on the Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site is right up there with Tom Daschle’s (first?) defeat of the day. See “President with slim lead in Ohio” at MegaPundit. Both Command Post and the Horserace Blog are running multiblogger updates and analysis. Be sure to check in on both of them now and through the day.
HINDROCKET adds: Daschle’s move can only be a sign of desperation. After his many years in South Dakota politics, having to admit that he can only win by committing fraud must be a complete humiliation. When a politician makes this kind of move, there is always talk of a backlash, but for some reason the backlash doesn’t usually seem to materialize. I think this case may be different. South Dakota is a predominantly Republican state. Daschle can win only by attracting a considerable number of Republican votes. His ability to do so, by running on a pork platform, has been the key to his career. But I have to think that after Daschle pulled this stunt–a last-ditch, deceitful attack on the Republican Party obviously intended to facilitate fraud–whatever Republican support he may have had will be gone. Daschle is toast.
AND MORE: The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state’s dominant newspaper and a fervent Daschle ally, is reporting Judge Piersol’s decision as a complete victory for Daschle. Astonishingly, the Argus Leader account never indicates that what Daschle got was anything less than what he asked for, nor does it mention that the ruling was limited to a single county.
UPDATE: A reader writes that the Ohio early returns appear to have reflected testing of the Secretary of State’s equipment rather than tabulation of votes. Apologies for the report; we’ll continue to worry about Ohio.