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Ups and Downs: Daschle Out, Baseball In

The year 2004 was a good one for Republicans — topping that list was John Thune’s (R) defeat of then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

Thune took the Senate seat with 51 percent of the vote, compared to Daschle’s 49 percent.

“Daschle’s loss was the first of his 26-year Congressional career. The South Dakota Democrat had not had a serious challenge since that first Senate race,” Roll Call reported. The Daschle loss was also historic because it was “the first time since 1952 that a sitting party leader in the Senate has lost a bid for re-election.”

Waiting in the wings following Daschle’s upset was Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who took over as Minority Leader and placed precedence on developing a new leadership team.

Reid said: “We feel that we have an obligation to the country to work with the president. … We are going to dance when necessary and fight when appropriate.”

Prior to the election, Republicans had reason to be sure of themselves: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) directed a re-redistricting effort that guaranteed GOP pickups.

“House Republicans remain confident that the Texas firewall they built to ensure a GOP majority next Congress will hold — even though they acknowledge that several of the targeted Democrats have put up surprisingly strong fights.”

And, Major League Baseball was hot in 2004 as D.C. officials announced the return of baseball to the city. In the spring of 2005 the city would welcome the Montreal Expos, transformed into the Washington Nationals, to RFK Stadium.

This is the last in the series of Roll Call through the years. For more on Roll Call’s coverage of history, look to the 50th anniversary issue on Thursday, June 16.

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