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Pressler on TV, Says Can Win Three-Way Senate Race

Hey! Larry Pressler got on TV Sunday morning! MSNBC's Steve Kornacki talked to South Dakota's combusting Independent Senate candidate about our how to attack ISIS, how to get Congress back to work, and how to win a three-way race in South Dakota:

On our impending return to war in the Middle East, Pressler says he would vote for air strikes but against attacking Syria. He opposes pouring more U.S. arms into the region and would prefer more special forces operations and high-tech weapons, with few if any boots on the ground.

Pressler says Congress is supposed to be co-equal with the President in forming foreign policy, but a Congress that can't muster more than continuing resolutions to fund government hardly deserves a seat at the foreign policy table. Pressler predicts Congress will "take a pass" on any serious votes on our military policy toward the Middle East, just as he says Congress has done on the highway trust fund and deficit reduction.

Ending Congress's fecklessness requires Independents, says Pressler. He says that if South Dakota and Kansas double the Senate Indy count to four, he and his Indy caucus could "start something big" and get Congress back to getting things done.

But can Pressler win a three-way race, or is his only hope to get Weiland to drop out? Pressler speaks of no such Kansas-like plan. He says his trajectory in the polls says he can win a three-way race. He says he can a big chunk of the Indian vote away from the Democrats. And he also reminds voters of an advantage that no one else in the race can claim: he gets to take his seniority back to the Senate. That's power for South Dakota, says Pressler, and he will wield it without regard to any of the special-interest money that "cloaks" Rounds and Weiland.

Even Annette Bosworth managed to snag national TV time, so face time on cable like this doesn't tell us anything about who's going to win. But Pressler's TV performance makes South Dakota sound a lot smarter than Mike Rounds's bleating about "South Dakota common sense."


  1. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.14

    I'm not convinced that Pressler can poll strongly among Indians, he is friends with Native Sun News editor Tim Giago, but I have never known Giago to politically impact reservation voters. Indians aren't naive, they may show Pressler a lot of respect, but in our minds he is still a Republican.
    Understandably Pressler won't commit to which party he will caucus with, that should be an alarm bell to every Democrat considering casting a vote pressler.
    I have stated before that when Pressler was a part of the Reagan years, Reagan declared an economic war against tribes and Pressler supported those devastating cuts.

  2. Tim 2014.09.15

    People need to see what Pressler is, a moderate republican, a rare breed indeed but still a republican.

  3. lesliengland 2014.09.15

    pressler says in his conclusion that this race is big political money of repubs AND DEMS, against the independent with little money and not beholden to anybody.

    pressler needs to be called on that mischaracterization of weiland.

  4. Chris S. 2014.09.15

    Pressler is claiming he would reclaim his seniority if he rejoined the Senate? I call baloney. I know the Senate is a hive of antiquated privilege, but I can't imagine either party would reward a so-called "independent" with seniority he held, what, 20 years ago? Even if a rule technically said that (which I still doubt), you don't think they'd find an end-run around it?

    Yeah, I'm sure both parties would be clamoring to give Pressler a prime chairmanship. Nobody currently in the Senate would want a plum position like that.

    Is anybody buying this line of his?

  5. John Tsitrian 2014.09.15

    As a card-carrying Pub I know that a lot of us will feel comfortable voting for Pressler instead of Rounds. Rounds and his people should be sweating profusely by now. After all, South Dakota common sense should tell them that a 39% plurality is a wobbly lead, indeed.

  6. aaron 2014.09.15

    Take the last poll as accurate and Pressler just needs to pull five points from both Rounds and Weiland and he wins.

  7. Craig 2014.09.15

    It will be interesting to see the trendline of the polls as we head into the voting booth. Voters don't like to support a candidant they don't feel is viable, and if Pressler is trending favorably at the time he could pull a lot of support from Weiland if people don't think Rick has a legitimate chance.

    Get the popcorn... this will be one to watch.

  8. Bill Fleming 2014.09.15

    The irony is that Pressler could win in a way similar to how Rounds did his first time out, by staying out of the fight while his opponants bloody each other's noses. He ends up being the last man standing.

  9. larry kurtz 2014.09.15

    Pressler is being systematically destroyed on twitter: he has a snowball's chance in Houston.

  10. 96 Tears 2014.09.15

    If Weiland wants to win this, he's got show himself as the fresh face with the credibility and experience to continue Sen. Tim Johnson's legacy for honesty and hard work for everyday South Dakotans. Otherwise, the ironic win Bill describes becomes the more probably outcome.

  11. 96 Tears 2014.09.15

    "probable outcome."

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.15

    "systematically destroyed on Twitter":

    (a) what exactly does that mean?

    (b) has Pressler or anyone else noticed?

    (c) where are all the little Pressler bits flying from the explosion?

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.15

    Hmm... does Weiland increase or decrease his chances of beating a Pressler surge by doing a half-hour video with Gordon Howie?

  14. Craig 2014.09.15

    Merely being in the same room as Howie probably hurts Weiland's chances. If one wants to be seen as successful, they surround themselves with successful people. Weiland has nothing to gain by associating with Howie aside from showing how out of touch many of Howie's positions are. That won't help earn Weiland any support from Howie-converts, because people who are that far out on the right aren't about to swing full left. If anything Weiland would push support to Rounds or possibly a small amount towards Pressler.

  15. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    "Weiland has nothing to gain by associating with Howie aside from showing how out of touch many of Howie's positions are. That won't help earn Weiland any support from Howie-converts, because people who are that far out on the right aren't about to swing full left."

    This attitude from the left will insure that the liberals of the SDGOP will continue to be successful in November, and Democrats will fall flat yet again. The anti-crony capitalists groups need to be working together if crony capitalism is to be removed from South Dakota soil. And in case you all don't know, Pressler is a liberal Republican that fosters crony capitalism. After all, he is a graduate of both Oxford and Harvard.

  16. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    "Weiland had cropped out"

    Sorry about the typo, it was supposed to be "dropped out".

  17. Rorschach 2014.09.15

    There is still plenty of time for the spit to hit the fan for Rounds over his transfer of millions of taxpayer dollars to the Joopster and his failure to regulate SDRC, Inc. as a bank and collect any taxes. And we're still waiting to find out how much the Joopster paid Rounds after Rounds left office. Almost 2 months left to election day, and that's a long time for Rounds to hide out in a spider hole somewhere. When the bottom drops out for Rounds, Pressler will pick up the pieces.

  18. Lynn 2014.09.15

    Steve, "After all, he is a graduate of both Oxford and Harvard." What does going to Oxford and Harvard have anything to do with being a liberal Republican and Crony Capitalism?

  19. lesliengland 2014.09.15

    sib has a domineering world view he asks us to divine from his thousands of posts

  20. 96 Tears 2014.09.15

    The Howie interview with Weiland is completely inconsequential. Who watches Howie other than the 1 percent of 1 percent of political junkies?

    Howie is the biggest gadfly in this race. Pressler had been another gadfly until Rounds' numbers started drooping. Now Pressler's the shiny object in front of the electorate only because he has name ID going into these final rounds of the 2014 election. (My mother-in-law loves his nice boy ads, so we can write off the octogenarian vote).

    This is the fourth quarter of the game, but only the beginning of the fourth quarter. My Spidy senses tell me Pressler started cresting about a week ago, before the KSFY debate. As I've told fellow Dems, let Larry have his moment in the sun. It won't last long if Weiland isn't also turning the corner to come up right behind Pressler's surge.

    The last 10 days of this election will be critical. Most of Rounds' votes and much of Pressler's votes will be in the vault when the SDGOP finishes up their absentee ballot sweep across the state. What I'm watching for:

    - Harry Reid pulling his head out of his ass and allowing national donors to boost Weiland’s messages.

    - Republican attacks on Pressler among Republicans (on push poll phones, TV, radio, direct mail and social media). If Rounds had not been failing, those efforts would be targeting Dems and independents to elect Pressler. Nobody thought Pressler would repeat what Rounds did in the 2002 primary by being the last man standing when the smoke clears. Team Rounds is more in touch with that hazard than anybody and I’m certain Wadhams is working on heading it off right now. The trick is to pop Pressler’s fragile balloon without Wadhams’ fingerprints on the deed and keep the GOP at home with Rounds.

    - Errors by Team Weiland. Every minute now counts. Every public gesture matters. Inaction is poisonous. If Reid keeps standing in the way of serious national money to buy TV time, then momentum needs to come from some other stimuli. Steve Jarding may be the right person at the right time to make that happen. His record in Virginia showed him to be very creative and highly assertive.

    - National media attention on the dying Mike Rounds campaign and its cause, the Rounds/Benda/Bollen/Regents Scam. This is worse than the Gov. Bob McConnell scandal and will probably yield more arrests and more serious penalties.

    - More gaffes by the GOP machine in Pierre, like helping Joop Bollen sweep the Rounds/Benda/Bollen/Regents Scam under the run by allowing only written answers to the GOAC inquiry. These gaffes are cutting into the SDGOP statehouse effort and exposing the cockroaches in Pierre to the public. Voters might be phoning Orkin right now.

    - Whether Pressler will attach Mike Rounds to the corruption in Pierre instead of talking about a Washington scandal from long ago. This could be the coup d'état for a Pressler win.

    This election is 180 degrees different than the rest of the nation. Republicans are able to nationalize the 2014 campaign to elect a Republican Senate to keep Obama in a political straight-jacket.

    But as Tip O’Neill would say, all politics is local. In South Dakota, the election is focused on cleaning up a massive scandal brought about by Rounds and his pals. It outshouts any messaging from D.C. Rounds and Daugaard, the Board of Regents, the GOP legislature and, most of all, Marty Jackley are caught red-handed trying to hide years of fleecing the public and corruption in our state government. This may be the gift that keeps giving into 2016 if the Dems can show the capacity for the long game. For the remainder of 2014, keep using wrenches instead of dodgeballs.

    Another saying, dance with one that brung ya, applies for Democrats looking for the path forward in the fourth quarter. That dancing partner has been the sickening legacy Mike Rounds created as Governor. If we’re gonna take it back, we better start at home.

  21. lesliengland 2014.09.15

    96, good post. 96, good post.

  22. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    (Lynn, I do not want to take this thread off topic and it would take a long dissertation to fully answer your question, so I will provide a link to get you started. Email me if you have any questions sibbyonline at hotmail):

  23. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    "Nobody thought Pressler would repeat what Rounds did in the 2002 primary by being the last man standing when the smoke clears."

    I did in May on "The Facts":

  24. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    When we go to the polls in November, the ballot won't define party, candidates will not be labeled as Blue Dog Democrat, Liberal or Conservative Republican, and Independent is just that.
    Rick Weiland is a Democrat running against 3 Republicans, Rounds the RINO, Howie the tea party, and Pressler a longtime Republican at heart. Democrats should trust none of them.
    The Weiland/Howie hurts no one, if nothing else it shows that Rick is willing to talk issues with the opposing party, remember Cory's videos with Howie? No harm no foul.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    Only Sibson would think that a well educated candidate would be a detriment to serving South Dakota. I don't support Larry Pressler, but I respect the education he has earned and that he continues to educate young people, he has a lot of wisdom and is willing to share it. That is a real achievement and not a liability.

  26. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    Roger are you conscious or unconscious (from the link):

    Through schools, forums, deceptive “fronts” and infiltrated universities (Oxford and Cambridge in England, and Harvard in the United States, are notable examples) the Fabians create both conscious and unconscious socialists.

  27. larry kurtz 2014.09.15

    Putting carpetbagger Pressler in the race was a brilliant stroke for Wadhams: even Mercer thinks so.

  28. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    Do you have a sense of any logically thinking or not?

    Are you suggesting to me that every student that is a product of Harvard, Cambridge, or Oxford is so indoctrinated with socialism that they can't see straight.

    If you had any ability to think, you would know that conservative Larry Pressler's first stop in the political arena was the GOP.
    Bill Clinton was also a product of Oxford and yet for years he and Pressler were at opposing sides of the political spectrum.

  29. Curt 2014.09.15

    Is Bob Mercer drinking again? If Weiland drops out, Press-release knocks off Rounds? Seriously, Bob? Larry was a joke 20 yrs ago when he was 'serving' in the Senate. His senses aren't quicker today than they were back then ... and apparently Bob's aren't either.

  30. JeniW 2014.09.15

    Pressler is not my first choice to vote for, but he is a whole lot better than Rounds ever was, or ever will be.

  31. Rorschach 2014.09.15

    Past the deadline for Weiland to withdraw from the ballot, but even if he could he shouldn't. Bob Mercer likes to stir the pot, and that's what he's doing. Instead of focusing on the horse race aspect Mercer would better serve the public by doing an in depth report on Rounds privatizing a multi-million dollar taxpayer revenue stream by paying the Joopster for the privilege of taking the money. He could report on how the Joopster signed a contract for the state that he was on the other side of, and what criminal charges could be brought for such a thing. He could interview the Board of Regents and staff to figure out who reviewed that contract and how it got past them. He could ask them about the missing (stolen) business records and what criminal charges could be brought against the Joopster for that. He could ask about the Joopster's lawyering in the California case and why he apparently wasn't punished for hiding a lawsuit from the state and its lawyers. He could ask why the Joopster was either allowed to sell securities without a license or operate a bank without a license and why he was never called upon to pay bank franchise taxes on the multi-million dollar revenue stream the Rounds administration handed him. And Mercer could ask Rounds how much the Joopster has paid Rounds since Rounds left office. How much his family has been paid. How much any of the related entities who made off with the all the investor money paid Rounds and/or his family. And he could ask how Benda's handwritten receipt from the Philippines red light district ever got past the auditor's office - and who from the Rounds administration directed the auditor to approve it.

    Mercer could be a real journalist. But he'd rather just stir the pot with meaningless drivel.

  32. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    Sorry Mercer, your wishful thinking isn't going to happen and nobody other than yourself thinks Weiland will drop out. Why should they?
    The fact of the matter is that Weiland, Rounds, Howie, and Pressler are in this race to win, there is no second place, there are only winners and losers. I have yet to meet a political candidate that is running for second or third place.
    Again, Rick is running against three Republicans, don't forget that.

  33. Bill Fleming 2014.09.15

    The next polls will tell us something and suggest a strategy. My gut says we see the Rounds number going down and both Rick's and Pressler's coming up. (But I am almost never right about such prognostications.) If instead, they stay essentially the same as they are now (39 Rounds, 28 Weiland, 25 Pressler) we're going to have to have a serious adult conversation about our real objectives. ;-)

  34. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    Mercer often enjoys speculating and I would like him to speculate on this:
    Should Mike Rounds win election for the senate and in the next day or two of winning the election, or perhaps when he takes his oath in January, all hell breaks loose.
    BREAKING NEWS: Newly elected South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds is indicted for EB-5 corruption. Maybe he is subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to answer for Joop Bollen, or maybe this; Mike Rounds subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Ethics Committee for his role in the cover up of EB-5 corruption.
    This is not entirely speculation, it is a real possibility.
    If Mike Rounds is the answer for the SDGOP, he could also be their worst enemy.

  35. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    If anybody should drop out of the senate race, it should be as Cory suggested in a recent thread, Marion Michael Rounds.

    He has and is bringing shame to South Dakota and the state's Republican Party.

  36. 96 Tears 2014.09.15

    Everybody, calm the f*#k down. Of course there would be a Pressler bubble when Rounds starts tanking. It won't last and this election is going to be very fluid. Every move or non-move matters from here on out. Blaming Bob Mercer for what he perceives is happening now does not help Rick Weiland.

    If you want Weiland to win, write and send him a big check. Then send him another one. He's got everything in place except your best effort to help him win.

  37. Slynn 2014.09.15

    The notion of Weiland pulling out of the race has been around for months as it was pushed to the partisan press by none-other-than, Dick Wadhams. How this suggestion even bears printing is astonishing to me. The gall, in this Republican controlled state, where the Republican controlled legislature and governorship has gerrymandered Democrats practically out of existence, to suggest that the Democratic nominee drop out of the race. How could this be other than a key Republican strategy? Giving Mercer credit for merely "stirring the pot" makes me sick.

    Democrats should be going all in with Weiland in what may well be the last chance this state ever has for a Democratic Party. A win for Weiland will be a HUGE game changer for South Dakota.

    Rounds/Wadhams Gameplan:
    1) Weaken Weiland by promoting Pressler. Especially important when Weiland is at critical fundraising juncture. Cast doubt by suggesting he is of so little consequence that he should drop out.
    2) Strengthen Pressler by using Wadhams' media contacts in the state and nationally to report on the Pressler phenom. (They will bite because a) it makes a good story and /or b) they support Rounds.)

    Let's rally, folks. Rick Weiland can win this race, but not if Wadhams succeeds in creating support for Pressler.

    Next: The case against Pressler.

  38. bearcreekbat 2014.09.15

    Actually, Mercer seems to be the most noteworthy mainstream SD journalist that is bringing attention to the EB-5 issues. While Madville has more information and is probably one of the best sources around on the EB-5 issues, the readership is likely not as great as the RC journal and other rags that publish Mercer's columns, and Madville is pretty strongly in Rick's camp. From what I have read, Mercer seems to be a positive force for Rick despite his somewhat pro-Pressler columns.

  39. 96 Tears 2014.09.15

    Bob Mercer is a positive force for Bob Mercer, the news reporter.

  40. bearcreekbat 2014.09.15

    As Roger commented earlier, as a Senator, Pressler supported terrible Reagan cuts to Native programs. He also supported Reagan's proposed defunding of public TV. If I recall correctly, Pressler also supported Reagan's goal of abolishing the Legal Services Program because it brought California growers' violations of labor law to the attention of the Courts, which ruled consistently against the growers, and despite the fact that SD Legal Services was an important resource for SD's elderly, disabled and indigents.

    Pressler's current viewpoints are better than Rounds, but his history is the best predictor of future policy positions (Thanks Dr. Phil). Rick's supporters need to assure that voters are aware of Pressler's draconian conservative history so that no one who might support Rick decides to vote for Pressler.

    And no one has yet answered the question - why did the FBI target Pressler as someone who could be bribed?

  41. Kurt Evans 2014.09.15

    Cory Heidelberger asks:
    >"Hmm... does Weiland increase or decrease his chances of beating a Pressler surge by doing a half-hour video with Gordon Howie?

    I'd say he increases them.

    "96 Tears" writes:
    >"The trick is to pop Pressler’s fragile balloon without Wadhams’ fingerprints on the deed and keep the GOP at home with Rounds."

    Wadhams-style tactics aren't necessary here. All that's needed is to honestly point out Pressler's inconsistencies.

    Roger Cornelius asks:
    >"The Weiland/Howie [video] hurts no one, if nothing else it shows that Rick is willing to talk issues with the opposing party, remember Cory's videos with Howie? No harm no foul."

    This. ^^

  42. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    "If you want Weiland to win, write and send him a big check. Then send him another one. He's got everything in place except your best effort to help him win."

    Come November there is going to be 97 tears. Perhaps more. I will be sad too, because South Dakota will be sending another liberal to DC. The only conservative is running at 3% right now.

  43. Steve Sibson 2014.09.15

    "why did the FBI target Pressler as someone who could be bribed?"

    Because he went to Oxford.

  44. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.15

    Knock off the stupid for awhile.

    3% isn't going to get any better, why bother?

  45. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.16

    Do Rick and Pressler talk to each other? Or do their people? I'm wondering if that would be good, or not?

    What I'm wondering is if Pressler really does consider dropping out. He talks in the video about focusing on what's good for SD. What would be good for SD is No Rounds. So would Pressler drop out to ensure Rounds' defeat?

    (Did I just make any sense at all?)

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.16

    Deb, if I were Pressler and the numbers showed be tied with Weiland, I would not drop out. I'd gun for Rounds. Any non-major-party candidate who can come as close as the Survey USA polls shows has the opportunity of a lifetime.

    I wouldn't drop out if I were Weiland, either. Surrender, to Pressler, to an Indy who shouldn't stand a chance? No way.

    Both men should stay faithful to their core belief that each is the best candidate for the job and make that argument as vigorously as they can. Whether they can do so in an amicable way that focuses all fire on Rounds remains to be seen.

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