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The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth will marry former Texas Rep. Max Sandlin, a fellow Democrat, in Brookings, S.D., on Saturday.

Once she is married, Herseth's name will change to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Herseth, South Dakota's only member of Congress, rarely speaks publicly about her relationship with Sandlin, whom she met when she first ran for Congress in July 2002.

But she said Monday that she is "so happy" that the wedding is only a few days away.

"A lot of my family and friends in South Dakota have had an opportunity to meet Max over the last couple of years, and I think they have all realized why I love him so much," she said.

She said she looks forward to her constituents getting to know him, too.

"I am hopeful that they will feel the same," she said. "It might be hard to take the Texan out of him, but he loves South Dakota."

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The two will marry in Brookings and plan to live there when they are not in Washington. Sandlin, who was defeated in a 2004 re-election bid, is a lobbyist for Fleishman-Hillard, a Washington, D.C., public relations and government relations firm.

Sandlin, 54, was a member of the U.S. House for eight years.

Herseth and Sandlin plan to honeymoon in the Caribbean, where she said they will to do some sea kayaking and mountain biking. The House will not be in session that week.

Herseth announced the engagement at her 36th birthday party in December.

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