- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004


A Democrat last night held on to a narrow lead in the race to fill the South Dakota House seat vacated by Republican Bill Janklow, who went to jail over a fatal auto accident, while a former aide to Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge was in a close Republican primary.

Democratic lawyer Stephanie Herseth had 79,224 votes, or 51 percent, to Republican Larry Diedrich’s 74,679 votes, or 49 percent, with 67 percent of precincts reporting in South Dakota’s special congressional election.

The winner takes office immediately and will serve out the seven months left in Janklow’s term. Both candidates will meet again in November to compete for a full two-year term. One, however, will have the advantage of incumbency in holding South Dakota’s lone House seat.

Alabama’s Republican primary yesterday turned into a referendum on Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments stand as three supporters of the ousted chief justice sought state Supreme Court seats and another ran for Congress.

The closest Supreme Court race was the only one involving an incumbent: former Moore aide Tom Parker had 80,925 votes, or 51 percent, compared to 76,621 votes, or 49 percent, for Associate Justice Jean Brown, with 73 percent of precincts reporting.

In another of the three Supreme Court races, Pam Baschab, a judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals with Mr. Moore’s support, had 42 percent of the vote to Shelby County Judge Patti M. Smith’s 58 percent, with 47 percent of precincts reporting.

Moore supporter Jerry Stokes was in second place and well behind Jefferson County Probate Judge Mike Bolin in a four-way race for the third seat, with 47 percent of the vote counted, but a runoff was possible if Judge Bolin gained less than 50 percent of the vote.

The winner of each contest will face a Democrat who ran uncontested in the primary.

Mr. Moore was expelled by a judicial ethics panel for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

The Ten Commandments issue was little help for Mr. Moore’s attorney, Phillip Jauregui, who put up an underfunded Republican primary challenge to six-term Rep. Spencer Bachus. Mr. Bachus garnered 87 percent of the vote with close to half the precincts counted in the congressional district.

Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican seeking a fourth term, was unopposed in the Republican primary and is the heavy favorite against a little-known Democrat, Wayne Sowell, in the fall.

In South Dakota’s special election, the Republican and Democratic House campaign committees waged media blitzes in South Dakota, pouring $2 million into TV ads in a rural state of just 765,000 people. In March, Vice President Dick Cheney campaigned for Mr. Diedrich in South Dakota, which leans heavily Republican.

Mr. Diedrich, 46, and Miss Herseth, 33, have both supported President Bush on the war in Iraq. Miss Herseth’s grandfather was governor and her father a longtime state lawmaker, and she gained name recognition from running a close race against Janklow in 2002.

Janklow resigned from Congress in January after being convicted of manslaughter in an auto accident that killed a motorcyclist. He served 100 days in jail and was released last month.

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