Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, the Democrat who represents all of South Dakota in the House, was one of those lawmakers who I figured knew her constituents well enough to avoid any real political risk. She narrowly won a 2004 special election, and then won 53 percent as Tom Daschle was losing his reelection bid for the Senate later in 2004. Her share of the vote was in the high 60s in 2006 and 2008.
She voted against the health-care bill. She supported removing Charlie Rangel from the Ways and Means chairmanship. She voted against cap-and-trade. But she did vote for the stimulus, and perhaps her constituents are realizing that despite Herseth-Sandlin’s dissents from party orthodoxy, her first vote every year is to empower Nancy Pelosi.
Maybe even a carefully voting Democrat’s luck can run out this year: Rasmussen puts her up by only 2 percentage points against Chris Nelson.