Friday, October 01, 2010

South Dakota Governor Race

Race of the Day

South Dakota Governor

October 1, 2010
32 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Open
2008 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

To the people who are keeping track of all the hot races across the country, the election to replace Mike Rounds, the term limited, popular Republican Governor of South Dakota might not be very high profile. To the people in the state though, is of course matters a great deal. While the parties have been competitive with each other at the federal level over the years, no Democrat has been elected Governor since 1974. That does not seem to be a streak that will end this year.

One candidate is State Senate Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem, whose official campaign logo touts him as an "Independent Democrat." To that end, he selected a Republican businessman to his Lt. Governor runningmate on the Democrat ticket. The tactic of a politically mixed ticket was successful several years back in Montana, and is also being attempted in another conservative state this year. In spite of all the talk about former DNC Chair Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy", it seems as if the national Democrat label is not very viable this year in South Dakota state races.

Still however, before the June primary, there was some polling data showing Heidepriem faring pretty well against a couple candidates in the GOP field. However, when matched up against the front-runner, Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard, there was a clear lead for the Republican. Daugaard took over half the total vote in a five candidate field and easily advanced to the general election and began as a heavy favorite over the other candidate with a not so easy to spell last name.

Rasmussen Reports has released one survey a month since the primary and in each of those, Daugaard is over 50 percent of the vote. Interestingly enough though, Heidepriem moved somewhat backwards between July and August losing eight percent of his vote total while his GOP opponent gained seven. The numbers changed only marginally in September, and the most recent poll puts the Republican ahead by 29 points.

While it is possible that some of the remaining undecided vote may gravitate to the Democrat, as Daugaard is the functional incumbent in the race, it would not nearly be enough to change the outcome. This race is just a little bit past the "Likely" classification to not call as Safe Republican at this point.

Daugaard campaign link:

2010 Governor races predicted thus far: 7 D, 23 R, 1 I
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 14 D, 29 R, 1 I