Democrats increased their numbers in the House with the victory of Stephanie Herseth in a special election to fill South Dakota's only House seat.
GOP Rep. Bill Janklow resigned in January after being convicted on a manslaughter charge stemming from a traffic accident. He served 100 days in jail and was released in May.
Herseth, who lost to Janklow in 2002, narrowly beat out Republican Larry Diedrich, a farmer and former state legislator. She and Diedrich will meet again in November, when they will compete for a full two-year term.
The June special election was closely watched by national parties eager to pick up momentum ahead of the fall campaign. The Republican and Democratic House campaign committees waged media blitzes in South Dakota, pouring $2 million into TV ads in a rural state of 765,000 people. In March, Vice President Dick Cheney campaigned for Diedrich in South Dakota. The parties also sent waves of supporters to the state to mobilize voters.
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle's seat is up for grabs in 2004. And Republicans are leaning heavily on former Rep. John Thune to challenge Daschle. Thune failed to unseat Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in the 2002 Senate race, which was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes.
Daschle has held his seat since 1986. On Election Day in 2002, when Democrats lost control of the Senate, he was demoted to minority leader again.
One year into his first term, Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, is promoting a seven-year state development venture, saying it would help spur economic growth without costing taxpayers extra money. Goals include doubling visitor spending, increasing the gross state product and making the state a research leader.
Rounds was elected in 2002, defeating university president Jim Abbott, a Democrat. Rounds had been the surprise winner of a nasty GOP primary.