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Midterm elections: 12 House races to watch to judge size of a GOP 'wave'

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South Dakota Democratic incumbent Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (l.) and GOP challenger Kristi Noem, called the 'Sarah Palin of South Dakota.'

Doug Dreyer/AP/File, Andy Sullivan/Reuters

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9. South Dakota's First

South Dakota’s at-large district is emblematic of the problems that so many Democrats – even moderate ones – in conservative districts are facing this election, and why so many of them look likely to lose.

Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has been a leader with the Blue Dog Democrats and has a fairly conservative voting record, voting against health-care reform and other Obama administration bills. But she’s in trouble, and her opponent, Kristi Noem – the “Sarah Palin of South Dakota,” a farmer and a state representative – seems poised to win.

The election is still a toss-up according to many pollsters, and its outcome will be a good indication of how Democrats may fare in the many similar races around the country.

South Dakota polls close at 8 p.m.

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