Sunday, October 31, 2004; Page A21
Bush is heavily favored here. Sen. Sam Brownback (R) should also cruise to reelection over Lee Jones, a railroad engineer who lost the Democratic primary but landed on the ballot when the first nominee dropped out. Rep. Dennis Moore (D) is usually imperiled, but Democrats feel good about his race against lawyer Kris Kobach. Moore has portrayed Kobach as a far-right figure tied to groups that have white supremacist connections. Kobach has depicted Moore as a radical liberal who is weak on national security.
Bush will breeze to victory here, and there's no Senate or governor's race. The House race to succeed retired Rep. Doug Bereuter (R) is spirited. Former Lincoln City Council member Jeff Fortenberry (R) is thought to have the edge over state Sen. Matt Connealy (D).
Safe for Bush. Gov. John Hoeven (R) is poised to win reelection against Democratic state Sen. Joe Satrom. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D), seeking a third term, is running well ahead of GOP lawyer Mike G. Liffrig. A Liffrig ad suggested Dorgan backs polygamy, which the senator called absurd.
No problem for Bush here, where the Senate contest is the nation's most closely watched. Former representative John Thune (R) is strongly challenging Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle in a slugfest that has saturated the airwaves with ads. Both nominees can point to recent polls showing them ahead, and only the foolhardy will bet the mortgage on this race. Total spending by the campaigns and independent groups will approach $40 million, a staggering sum for a state with only about 760,000 residents and inexpensive TV air time. Thune, who lost a 2002 Senate bid by 524 votes, says Daschle has lost touch with South Dakotans. Democrats say the state cannot afford to lose Daschle's seniority, clout and experience. The state's lone House member, Stephanie Herseth (D), again faces Larry Diedrich, the Republican she narrowly defeated in a June special election. Conventional wisdom says Herseth will win again, but at least one poll has shown Diedrich ahead.