Here's an article by Dave Kranz in today's Argus Leader about the third party challenge of long-time Indian leader Tim Giago. It's bad news for Daschle:
Giago running in November could alter the result, said Bill Richardson, political science professor at the University of South Dakota. "It could influence the race big-time," he said. "The obvious possibility is that he will take away votes that possibly would have gone to Tom Daschle."
The situation is similar to Ralph Nader running on the Green Party ticket in 2000 presidential race and as an independent in 2004, Richardson said. Nader was blamed for costing Vice President Al Gore the presidency by attracting voters who might have preferred Gore to George W. Bush.
"This is as is the case with Ralph Nader in the presidential contest. The only question is how many and how crucial they will be in a close election," he said.
The significance of Giago's decision "can't be overstated," said Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager.
"This is clearly bad news for Tom Daschle," he said. "Anytime you have an election that appears to be as close as this one - any development like this is huge."
In 2002, Libertarian Kurt Evans ran against Sen. Tim Johnson and Thune, but decided to drop out a few days before the election. His name stayed on the ballot and he received 3,070 votes. Johnson defeated Thune by 528 votes.
Giago could split Native American votes, he said. "Couple that with our strong efforts on the reservation and the fact that the dynamic of the reservation vote is different from the 2002 race and the 2004 race," Wadhams said.
A note on spin. Kranz then goes on to write:
Campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer dismisses the suggestion that this could hurt Daschle.
"Senator Daschle wants this campaign to include issues important to the Native American community and Giago's candidacy helps accomplish that," he said. "In his position as minority leader Senator Daschle has been one of the primary voices putting Native American issues on the national agenda."
Despite the introductory sentence by Kranz, Pfeiffer never really denies that the Giago candidacy is a disaster for Daschle. There's no way to spin out of that. It's too obvious.
UPDATE: The story is already in the Miami Herald.