South Dakota Secretary of State to Challenge Herseth Sandlin

Posted October 2, 2009 at 3:51pm

Chris Nelson, South Dakota’s secretary of state, announced Friday that he will run for Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for the state’s only House seat.

Nelson’s entry made him the second Republican in as many days to join the race, as state Rep. Blake Curd declared his candidacy Thursday.

But Nelson, with his track record of winning statewide elections and the name recognition derived from his position, is widely viewed as having a better chance of defeating Herseth Sandlin.

The GOP field is already stronger than the party has attracted in recent South Dakota House contests. Herseth Sandlin first won the at-large seat narrowly in a 2004 special election. But her stronger showing in that year’s general election caused GOP candidate recruiting problems in 2006 and 2008, despite the typically strong Republican leanings of the state’s voters.