Friday, July 9, 2010

SD-AL: Race Tightening

A new poll shows a tightening race between incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) and Republican challenger Kristi Noem for South Dakota's only House seat:

The Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely South Dakota voters showed Noem with 49 percent to 44 percent for Herseth Sandlin. That is 7 percentage points narrower than Noem's lead in a June 14 Rasmussen Report, taken six days after the Republican won a three-person U.S. House primary.

In that June primary, Noem had 53 percent to 41 percent for Herseth Sandlin, who did not face a primary opponent. At the time, Rasmussen attributed Noem's particularly strong showing to the "bounce" among likely voters that congressional challengers often receive after winning a contested primary.

Herseth Sandlin voted against health-care "reform" in both 2009 and 2010. But she seems to be an opponent of repealing that law (emphasis added):

As verification of that, Herseth Sandlin’s staff last week offered internal e-mail exchanges from March 25, several days before her conversations with [potential Democratic challenger] Weiland. The e-mails said Herseth Sandlin was “not convinced that efforts to repeal the health care reform bill would be either practical or wise.” They also said she believed it made more sense to work on improving weaknesses in the bill.

But Weiland was still seeking a firm assurance against a potential repeal vote from Herseth Sandlin in their discussions the following week. Asked last week to recall those conversations, he said he felt like the negotiations produced the assurance he wanted.

“When it came down to it, my priority was to make sure Stephanie wouldn’t work to repeal that health care bill. We discussed it at length, and she offered assurance that that was not her intent. Once we had that clarified, I said ‘OK, I won’t run against you,’” Weiland said. “Whether you call it quid pro quo, I don’t know about that. We agreed that we needed to work on the bill, not repeal it. That’s what mattered to me, her assurance that we would work with the bill and not repeal it. I got what I wanted, and she got what she wanted.”

Noem's people are hitting this point hard, banking on a belief that many in South Dakota would like to wash away this law.

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