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?

35 comments

Want a lieutenant governor with hustle? Vote for Susy Blake (and that Susan gal who's running with her)!

Around 2:30 p.m. CDT today, Blake posted this status and photo on Facebook:

"Having an amazing time and meeting wonderful people at the Eagle Butte Powwow!"

Susy Blake: "Having an amazing time and meeting wonderful people at the Eagle Butte Powwow!"

About six hours later, Blake posted this status and photo:

Susy Blake: "Rock'n to Boston!" FB photo, South Dakota State Fair, 2014.08.31

Susy Blake: "Rock'n to Boston!" FB photo, South Dakota State Fair, 2014.08.31

From powwow in Eagle Butte to grandstand rock in Huron in one day—Susy Blake may be the hard-charging South Dakota mom everyone can love. And I have more than a feeling that Blake keeps up this schedule on corndog power! We're ready, Susy! Don't look back! Keep on campaigning!

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I see South Dakotans Against Prohibition plan to disrupt the South Dakota State Fair with a protest parade in favor of medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Organizer Cody Gardner of Huron says he has 150 protesters ready to march and thinks he can get a full 1,000 to take over Third Street, the main city street that bisects the fairgrounds.

Protesters plan to cheer for Independent Mike Myers at the State Fair gubernatorial debate on Friday, then march east on Third Street to Dakota Avenue with most if not all of the Libertarian statewide candidates. They say it will take them 30 minutes to march those eight blocks... which makes me think part of the failure of the pro-hempers and Libertarians is an inability to get their rears in gear. (I hear pot does that to people.)

Another potential failure of the Libertarian-hemp movement: the inability to recognize good marketing synergy. They stage their march when everyone's at work on Friday morning, a slower day at the Fair with all those plain old candidates. They miss the chance to march on Saturday, when they could synergize with grandstand entertainer Stoney LaRue. Marketing, fellas... marketing.

p.s.: I support keeping government out of medical decisions. I also support growing hemp to boost South Dakota's economy and improve our soil and water quality. I have yet to see any South Dakota Libertarians capable of organizing an effective movement toward those policies.

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At Dakotafest today, Gordon Howie doubled my projection of his vote total in South Dakota's Senate race to double digits.

The Howie boost doesn't come from his good hits on Rounds on EB-5 in today's debate (though I wholeheartedly approve, Gordon—carry on!). It wasn't his amazing ability to draw Rounds into attacking him (really! Rounds did it, saying Howie isn't fiscally conservative! That's worth a couple brownie points!). It wasn't his discourse on the Tenth Amendment and state sovereignty (I take those brownie points right back).

No, the Howie boost comes from the man in this photo:

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager.

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager, at Dakotafest, outside Mitchell, South Dakota, 2014.08.20.

Meet Gordon Howie's campaign manager, Nick Reid. Douglas High School debate coach Nick Reid. Debate coach.

We all debate coaches are destined to rule the world. If Gordon can listen to Nick, he just might beat Pressler!

And if he can play that last name right, he might even win the still up-for-grabs endorsement of the Senate Majority Leader.

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RickstockCrowd Hey, what are all those people doing in Dr. Kevin Weiland's yard?

Take It Back Band Why, listening to Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Rick Weiland and the Take It Back Band...

Rickstock2014 ...on a beautiful evening in the Black Hills.

Clean Water AllianceFolks at this show don't want any uranium mining...

Seamans Clanton...and these ranch men will have no truck with pipelines...

KurtzPipe ...but pipes are fine, especially with Kurtz classing up the smoking section.

BlogReadersatRickstockRick voters and blog readers are also cool with flower power and adult beverages in moderation.

WeilandatRickstockCandidate Weiland had a moment between sets to chat about the campaign. Before playing the big show Saturday at his brother Kevin's Piedmont place, Rick walked the Central States Fair parade through downtown Rapid City. Parade in the morning, working the stage and working the crowd all afternoon and evening (and before the sun dropped below the ponderosas, it was hot on that stage!)... you tell me who the hardest working man in the Senate campaign is!

Rick noted that the last time he marched in the Central States Fair parade (another campaign, another decade), he recalls folks actually booing at him. Saturday morning, he said parade-goers were cheering and stepping out to shake his hand. That's long-term momentum!

38 comments

President Harry Truman endorses Rickstock:

Photo from Kevin Weiland, Rickstock Facebook page, 2014.08.06

Photo from Kevin Weiland, Rickstock Facebook page, 2014.08.06

While I tie-dye my press hat for the big August 16 Rick Weiland musical fundraiser in Piedmont, the Democratic candidate continues his crusade to win a seat in the Senate by shaking hands in every town in the state. Journalist Kevin Woster is impressed with the effort Weiland is making in a campaign he's "almost" certain to lose:

It’s the “almost,” of course, along with a young, palm-studying staff of smart-phone addicts, that gets Weiland out of bed early each day to pound the pavement, press the flesh and pass mile after mile of lonesome South Dakota roads in a low-budget, wrist-wrenching retail campaign he wouldn’t trade for just about anything. OK, maybe he’d trade it for a lot of campaign cash and a 15-point lead over Rounds, but let’s get serious. This is South Dakota, where Republican candidates begin any statewide campaign with a 50,000 vote edge over Democrats in registered voters.

Still, Weiland is serious about the campaign and actually seems inspired by it. Asked to compare this campaign to his previous two, Weiland said: “This one has been much more hands on. It’s a real campaign, and these are real visits. Our goal has been to meet at least one person in every town. And we’ve done that" [Kevin Woster, "Haven't Been to Hillsview? You Haven't Really Campaigned," KELOLand.com, 2014.08.05].

Rick Weiland campaign van next to SDGOP campaign bus

Rick vs. Mike—David vs. Goliath

Compare Rick's hard-charging minivan tour of South Dakota with Mike Rounds's comfortable cruise around the state in a giant wrapped bus, and you can understand why the press, not to mention hard-working voters, might talk more about Weiland's travels than about what a Weiland fundraising pitch deems the GRA$$ROOT$ EXPRE$$. Weiland's Everywhere-Everyman-van versus Rounds's luxury travel could also explain why, even though he has more name recognition, his favorable–unfavorable ratio is notably worse than Weiland's.

8 comments
Arc of Dreams™, concept by Dale Lamphere

Arc of Dreams™, concept by Dale Lamphere

Fundraising is underway to create the capstone to the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk: the "Arc of Dreams™," a 70-foot-high almost-arch spanning the Big Sioux River between 6th and 8th Streets. The design looks pretty cool. But in the spirit of leaping forth with our dreams, and at peril of incurring the wrath of Arc™ designer Dale Lamphere, I propose the following ten improvements to this mighty work of art:

  1. For a memorable welcome to Sioux Falls, make the Arc™ taller so planes approaching Joe Foss Field can fly under it.
  2. Draw Trekkie dollars: reshape the Arc™ into a bat'leth (or two dueling bat'leths! Qapla'!).
  3. Make it wide enough for joggers and bicyclists to get to the top. Leave the gap: let folks jump across to bring to life the dreamers' leap of faith the gap symbolizes.
  4. Close the gap and build one at every intersection as a non-motorized overpass so SUV drivers can rush into traffic without watching for annoying cyclists.
  5. Paint it rainbow colors, in celebration of the inevitable victory of Jennie and Nancy Rosenbrahn.
  6. Install sprinklers to create a soothing, shimmering curtain of mist making rainbows all day long.
  7. Make it a giant Tesla coil, with spark shows after sunset every evening.
  8. Hang a rope from each end into the water to promote fishing (pranksters are already designing 30-foot carp to hang from the ends in the middle of the night). Ropes can also catch boaters and tubers paddling underneath to cool off in the mist curtain on hot summer days.
  9. Add a natural-gas nozzle to the sprinklers, combine with the Tesla coil—Arc of Flame! Install a barge below, and host an outdoor KISS concert!
  10. Widen the gap and install a slingshot for kayakers (yes, I mean load the kayaker in the pocket and wheeeee!). Also use to celebrate outgoing mayors.

The sculpture fundraisers would prefer your dollars, not your wise-guy ideas. A thousand bucks gets you your own quartzite plaque in the surrounding Walk of Dreams; $50K gets you a quartzite-and-steel pillar. So how much will get me the Tesla coil?

Related: Speaking of Sioux Falls iconography, blogospheric neighbor Scott Ehrisman urges us to vote for his design for a flag for Sioux Falls. The Committee to Establish a Suitable Flying Banner for the City of Sioux Falls is conducting an online survey to pick a flag for our eastern Queen City. There appear to be 90 flags to rate. Uff da! (Yes, that's it! A nice sky blue field with UFF DA! in bold white letters... and the Arc of Dreams™ in the background.)

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Fellow Lake Herman expatriate Elisa Sand wrote this week of two 19-year-olds passing through Aberdeen on a walk from Seattle to New York City. Evidently crossing South Dakota on Highway 12 hasn't given Cameron Coupe and Zan Roman a great impression of South Dakota:

Neither of the two had been to South Dakota, which they found to be flat with "not a lot going on." As a first for the trip, he pair were mistaken for homeless people while eating at a buffet in Aberdeen. An employee who saw them packing up the carts outside told them they had to pay first before sitting down and eating [Elisa Sand, "Teens Stop in Aberdeen on Cross-Country Walk," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.16].

Not a lot going on? Evidently Coupe and Roman aren't paying attention. There's lots going on; they just seem to be too tired to notice and write it down.

Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.

Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.

For instance, they could have written about their fellow wanderers in northeastern South Dakota, the moose!

A pair of moose spotted in Potter and Faulk counties could be passing through or looking for a place to call home.

Brown County conservation officer NickCochran said a young bull and young cow have been spotted several times, but it’s not unusual for South Dakotans to see the occasional moose roaming through from northern Minnesota or North Dakota [Elisa Sand, "Moose Pair Continuing Travels in Aberdeen Area," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.11].

Moose marching through South Dakota! Moose attack people more often than bears attack people! What do we do?

Typically, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department takes an observatory role.

“We just monitor them and let them do their thing,” he said.

As for the general public, Cochran said, people should be advised to give the moose their space. While they are curious and don’t spook as easily as a deer, a moose will charge if it feels threatened [Sand, 2014.07.11].

The moose have not reported any unpleasant assumptions or discriminatory treatment from buffet staff in Tolstoy or Cresbard. Coupe laments this weekend that he and Roman have walked more miles than raised dollars (1,500 miles, 1,400 dollars for the Seattle Children's Hospital, the ostensible motivation for their transambulation).

But you know, strangers breezing through the state telling stories about helping children and expecting people to hand them money don't have the most sustainable business model.

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