In his e-mail, Daschle asks supporters to send Ensign e-mails demanding that he “stop the attacks.”In 2002, Johnson survived a challenge by then Rep. John Thune (R). In 2004 Thune challenged and defeated Daschle in one of the most expensive Seante races per capita. Due to the generally conservative nature of South Dakota and the close races in 2002 and 2004, Johnson was on the NRSC target list ever since the day after he won in 2002.
“Tim’s focus should be on his recovery to serve the people of South Dakota, not fending off classless political attacks from national Republicans,” Daschle wrote. “That means we’re not going to sit back and wait for the right-wing slime machine to attack Tim Johnson. We have to fight back.”
In an e-mail to supporters issued by Johnson’s campaign committee, Daschle criticizes National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) for saying he would push forward with an effort to defeat Johnson in 2008.
In fact, the NRSC's recruitment and fundraising campaigns have actually been hampered by Johnson's illness. Johnson suffered a brain hemmorhage in December and has been on a leave of absence from the Senate while recouperating.
Methinks Daschle doth protest too much and certainly can be guilty (perhaps by association or directly) of hypocrisy. Despite accusations against the NRSC for targeting Johnson, Johnson's illness has not prevented the Democrats from raising $1.2 million on behalf of Johnson, despite his infirmity.
Johnson is expected to return to his duties after the August recess, but it is unclear whether he will run for re-election.