Thursday, September 15, 2016

Race of the Day- South Dakota U.S. Senate

53 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

To say the least, whomever is elected President this year is unlikely to find themselves on Mount Rushmore one day, but the state where the monument is located is holding a low-key election for the U.S. Senate.

Incumbent John Thune may have Presidential ambitions himself, but he has yet to seek the office. The Republican in just in his mid 50s though, and considering the age of some of the leading candidates this year, he may figure he has time. Having represented the state in Congress, Thune lost a narrow 2002 U.S. Senate race to an incumbent Democrat, after being convinced to run by the Bush White House, and changing plans he had to run for Governor. He became a GOP hero though just two years later when he ousted then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Having gone through two very tough and expensive Senate races against Democrat incumbents, Thune, as an incumbent had a far easier time when he ran for his second term in 2010. Nobody opposed him at all. This year he is facing nominal opposition from Democrat Jay Williams, a businessman, veteran, and former school board member. The Chairman of the Yankton County Democrats, Williams has lost a couple of bids to join the South Dakota State House.

Thune is now Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, putting him in a big position of influence on Capitol Hill, and he will hope to still be in the majority party next year. Williams is trying to run a populist campaign  and trying to tie Thune to Donald Trump. It should not be expected to work in strongly Republican South Dakota, where the voters clearly know the Senator pretty well by now.

Thune campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far:
 8 D (6 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
22 R (8 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 4 Tossup)

Overall predicted thus far: 44 D, 52 R