When we finally went to bed last night, Democrat Stephanie Herseth's initial lead of 6 percentage points over Republican challenger Larry Diedrich in the special South Dakota U.S. House election had shrunk to a paper-thin margin, but we were relieved to wake up this morning to find she eked out a 51-49 win. The margin between Ds & Rs in the U.S. House has thus shrunk to just 11 seats now that the Ds need to win to take back control of that body.
Meanwhile, according to the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal, since Diedrich will be running against Herseth again in November, he will simply keep his campaign up, slinging mud, from right now through November 2nd. He got a lot of big-name Republican help prior to yesterday -- including a fundraiser hosted by Karl Rove and a visit to the state by Katherine Harris (of Florida 2000 fame) -- and we would guess that even bigger "stars" will be coming to South Dakota to try to recover from the embarrassment ... yet another Democrat elected in a solidly Republican state under the leadership of El Presidente (the first was Ben Chandler in Kentucky earlier this year). The Republican big guns will be swarming like cicadas to unseat both Helseth and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.