|House Campaign Pits Youth Against Experience|
Oct. 1, 2002 -- The central theme in the hotly contested race for the state's single U.S. House seat is an age-old one -- it comes down to youth versus experience.
In one corner is one of the state's political icons, four-term governor Republican Bill Janklow. In the other, 31-year-old attorney Stephanie Herseth is running hard. According to one of the few published polls, the race is essentially a dead-heat with Herseth leading Janklow 44 to 41 percent.
The conservative Weekly Standard summed up the race as one that "pits the over-familiar four-term Republican governor William Janklow against Stephanie Herseth, a young Democratic lawyer so deadly cute that no one dares say anything negative about her."
But the two candidates have run an issue-focused campaign, debating agriculture, health care, economic development and the possible war with Iraq. And, analysts say, the two candidates have not taken on the controversial issues that may show a deeper division between them.
"There have been no sharp exchanges between them on abortion, gun control, prayer in the schools or capital punishment," The Sioux Falls Argus Ledger quoted Bob Burns, head of the political science department at South Dakota State University, as saying. "Maybe that debate will come. If so, I do think we will see differences with regard to their policy decisions, but neither candidate has been quick to bring those neo-conservative issues out."
One of the growing issues that analysts say may help the experienced Janklow is the debate over military intervention in Iraq.
Both candidates have endorsed the idea of regime change in Iraq, but have split over the notion of going it alone.
"I'd love to have the support of our allies, but it's the American World Trade Center they flew the planes into," Janklow said at a candidate forum in August. "I'd love to have the support of our allies, but if we can't get the support of these people, then in this war, they're not our allies, and we may have to go it alone."
Herseth has instead urged the president to seek congressional support and try to build an international coalition.
"We are looking at putting our men and women in urban warfare, hand-to-hand combat on the streets of Baghdad," she told the Argus Ledger. "I view it as a sliding scale. To the extent we have little support from allies, the need goes way up for congressional approval. With more allied support, the bar goes down a little for congressional approval."
As the campaign closes in on a month to go, Janklow and Herseth are expected to ratchet up the differences between them as both try to break out into the lead.