Larry Pressler sent me the funniest thing I read all day yesterday. His press release celebrating his rising poll numbers quoted campaign chairman Don Frankenfeld thus:

The Pressler campaign is on fire.

Come on, Don! Give us an exclamation point! The press release header exclamation-pointed and all-capsed the declaration that third-place Pressler is IN IT TO WIN IT! A mere period makes it sound like Larry is noting to Harriet that the toast is burning.

Rick Weiland would certainly like to set the Pressler campaign on fire. With Pressler trumping third-party unlikelihood with nostalgia, name recognition, and adult conversation about policy, Weiland is attacking Pressler on his record. Here's the press release Team Weiland sent out right after last night's KSFY Senate debate:

Larry Pressler should be lauded for coming around on his beliefs, which now reflect where a lot of mainstream voters are today. The fact remains however, when Larry stood on the floor 18 years ago, he voted, often on multiple occasions, against the interests of everyday folks.

  • Larry voted against the Minimum Wage (1988)
  • Larry voted multiple times against parental leave (1988, 1992, 1993)
  • Larry voted against limits on campaign finance spending (1992, 1994)
  • Larry voted against greater disclosure requirements for lobbyists (1994)
  • Larry voted against benefits for same sex couples. (1992)
  • Larry voted against banning discrimination based on sexual orientation (1996)
  • Larry voted against a holiday for Dr. King (1988)

Rick Weiland knows where he would have stood on these issues 20 years ago, and they are the same as where he stands today [Weiland campaign press release, 2014.09.10].

Tim Johnson followed a similar tack in 1996, attacking Pressler's record to unseat him from the Senate. Can Weiland do the same 18 years later to keep Pressler from reclaiming that set from Johnson? Is this attack what Weiland must do to pull liberal leaners back from the Pressler precipice? Can Weiland afford to attack Pressler and bank on Rounds to continue sliding on his own as the evidence of Rounds's complicity in the failure of Northern Beef Packers and Bollengate?

Or does fighting on two fronts turn Weiland into another bad guy and open the door for Pressler to ironically restage 2002 and emerge the surprise, clean, positive victor among bickering candidates?