Daschle Faces Tight Race for Survival
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Thousands of miles from Washington, D.C., on the plains of South Dakota, three-term Sen. Tom Daschle (search) — the Senate's top Democrat — is facing the prospect of his last term.
The latest poll put out by Rasmussen Reports that Daschle and former Rep. John Thune (search) are tied with 49 percent support each among likely voters.
"It's going to come down to who catches the wind. It's going to be that close," said Thune, Daschle's Republican challenger.
Since Republicans hope to keep control of the Senate and the minority leader is seen as vulnerable, South Dakotans won't be the only ones paying attention.
With so many square miles of farmland and so few people, South Dakota only has 350,000 likely voters. But many political organizations on both sides of the aisle see this Senate race as second only to the presidential election.
"It is very ironic that, as small a state as it is, that there's this much national attention," Daschle said.
In the 2002 election, South Dakota had the second-highest voter turnout in the country. This year's Democratic presidential primary set a new record for turnout: 61.3 percent. (Since President Bush was the only Republican candidate, the state's GOP primary was canceled.)
Thune and Daschle, who have won and lost elections by mere hundreds of votes, know how crucial a shake of the hand can be.
Click on the video box near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Carol McKinley.