Robert Novak

David Beasley, who appeared dead in Republican politics after his defeat for re-election as governor of South Carolina in 1998, has a chance to make a successful comeback in the 2004 election for the U.S. Senate seat relinquished by Democrat Ernest F. Hollings.

Rep. Jim DeMint is no longer the White House-anointed candidate, especially after his vote against the Medicare-prescription drugs bill pushed by President Bush. He now faces a tough Republican primary against not only former State Attorney General Charles Condon but Beasley as well.

Beasley got himself in trouble in 1996 by opposing gambling interests and trying to take down the Confederate flag from the state capitol dome. His standing among South Carolina Republicans was not helped when he won the Kennedy family's "Profile in Courage" award. Nevertheless, he starts ahead of both DeMint and Condon in statewide name identification.


The conviction of Republican Rep. William Janklow for manslaughter could have the effect of easing re-election difficulties in South Dakota for Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle.

A reluctant former Rep. John Thune has been pressed by national Republican leaders to run against Daschle, and he had seemed to be coming closer to that decision. However, he may now run for the empty House seat in a special election after Janklow's resignation from Congress Jan. 20.

Stephanie Herseth, who nearly defeated the heavily favored Janklow in 2002, definitely will run in the special election. It may take Thune to defeat Herseth and keep the seat Republican.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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