I told myself I wasn't going to say a word about the 2010 election until, well, 2010. But Kevin Woster's Mt. Blogmore musings over Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's chances at the governor's seat, if she runs for it, got me thinking.
Woster offers a number of reasons that we Dems shouldn't think we've got the governor's office in the bag if SHS throws her hat in that ring. The most relevant reasons have dollar signs in front of them, like Dennis Daugaard's $400K in the bank at the end of last year. Of course, if Dave Knutson really can raise a million, and if the Republicans drain their war chests in a bruising primary brawl, that strength could disappear.
Also don't forget that deep down, every South Dakota voter knows South Dakota is a welfare state, and we like sending Republicans to Pierre to keep our taxes down and Dems to Washington to bring home the pork to make up for the shortfall.
In terms of pure campaigning, I would never underestimate a Groton National Forensic League veteran (not to mention a national tournament orator!). Nonetheless, eager Dems might also want to note that SHS hasn't faced a tough election since 2004. South Dakota's Republicans have seemed willing to let our lone seat in Congress go without much of a fight. Threaten the GOP with a historic surrender of the South Dakota veto pen to a Democrat, and they might break out the brass knuckles. (Don't think they'll hit a girl? All's fair....)
Bets on the race now are silly. We don't even know which horses are running, let alone whether they'll be running in a recession, a depression, or Year Two of the Glorious American Restoration. Nonetheless, for kicks and giggles and New Year's cocktail chatter, here are the Madville Times early odds on who could beat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin:
Dennis Daugaard: even. (Fundraising since last year!)
Scott Munsterman: 1.5 to 1 (Exectuive experience! Alas, he'll catch some Joe the Plumber heck in the primary for ruling the People's Socialist Republic of Brookings. And Mr. Mayor, switch off that automatic audio on the website!)
Dave Knudson: 3 to 1. (SHS can play the anti-Sioux Falls bias against Knudson, who just won't look as good on a tractor.)
Ken Knuppe: 10 to 1 (if he could beat his 50 to 1 odds in the primary. I want to believe in the handlebar 'stache, but I know better.)
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