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Schaff: “The Democrats Have Won the EB-5 Debate”; Weiland Campaign “Almost Perfect”

The Democrats have won the EB-5 debate.

I didn't say that. If I did, I still wouldn't put it in the present perfect. Present progressive—are winning—sure, but not have won.

Jon Schaff said it. Conservative political science professor and former Joop Bollen campus-mate Jon Schaff said it. The good professor breaks a far too long blog silence to add some context to his now politicized assessment that "Rounds is in trouble" in the U.S. Senate race.

Professor Schaff does not retract his "trouble" comment. Nor does he say that reporter Denise Ross somehow warped its meaning. He simply posts the entire e-mail response that he sent to Ross to inform her September 19 report and says "I stand by everything" in it. Here is point #6 from that e-mail:

Rounds is in trouble. He is relying on Pressler and Weiland splitting the non-Rounds vote. It is not good that now in multiple polls have 55-60% of voters supporting someone other than Mike Rounds. The Democrats have won the EB-5 debate and will continue to beat Rounds with this. Rounds will likely have to get aggressive. We’ll see if Kristi Noem and John Thune come to his rescue. I’d be interested if those to politicians agree to campaign with Rounds or appear in ads with him. Weiland has run an almost perfect campaign and Rounds will have to work hard to win, which I still think he will [Jon Schaff, e-mail to Denise Ross, quoted in Jon Schaff, "My Thoughts on the Senate Race," South Dakota Politics, 2014.09.21].

"Weiland has run an almost perfect campaign and Rounds will have to work hard to win." One could not pen a more explicit rejection of the GOP's wishful assertion that Weiland is an awful candidate. The GOP's persistent fabrication of their preferred narrative may be leading them to ignore the fact that Mike Rounds cannot coast to victory. He actually has to work, something he's not used to.

Lest we Democrats fall into a Rounds-like complacency, Schaff's comment makes clear that "Democrats have won the EB-5 debate" does not equal "Democrats have won the Senate seat." Schaff still thinks Rounds will win. Democrats could indeed win on all the facts on corruption and mismanagement in Mike Rounds's Office of Economic Development, and Mike Rounds could still million-dollar-buffalo a winning plurality of South Dakota voters into sending his forced smile to Washington.

Democrats have a winning argument in EB-5, but they still have to work five times as hard as Rounds to sell the fundamental character argument that EB-5 raises about Rounds's fitness for office. On top of that, they still have to beat Rounds on the issues and show that their agenda makes more South Dakota common sense than any of Rounds's false platitudes.If we have won the EB-5 debate, we have to make sure everyone knows we've won, and explain why that victory matters enough to vote for Rick Weiland instead of Mike Rounds. Keep working, Dems!


  1. 96Tears 2014.09.22

    Very good point, Cory. Winning the debate is not winning the election.

  2. Jane Smith 2014.09.22

    The Bollen EB-5 fraud is a real problem, as it has made a mockery of South Dakota. The GOP needs to take action to demonstrate their bipartisanship or even authority. All the redirecting, dismissals and cover ups by the GOP of this problem, only demonstrates that their best interest is in politicizing the problem instead of doing something material about it. Why did a governor allow such fraud under his watch? Forget the problems in the rest of the country, clean up this mess first. Then it will be an example of true leadership to earn a Senatorship.

  3. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.22

    Mike Rounds will win this election, but his effectiveness as a senator will never materialize.

    My guess is that the Senate ethics committee will have some serious, and ongoing questions to ask Mike. SD will in reality only have one senator. There will be no important assignments, only low ranking thumb sucking rolls.

    Actually for return on ivestment LP would be the best choice, but that wont happen. Seniority means everything in DC, and Larry has it, neither of the others do.

    Lets face it, if you sell insurance, you are in the business of making money. In the senate you are managing the nations money. The two ar mutually exclusive.

    The Blindman

  4. mike from iowa 2014.09.22

    Rounds will be just another no vote in the Ted Cruz train wreck subset of the wingnut party. When they ask him about the caucus,he'll politely point out his buddy Jackley already said it was a suicide and that is good enough for him.

  5. 96Tears 2014.09.22

    Bill, if there is a GOP Senate majority, Pressler's seniority will mean nothing unless he's cutting deals with Mitch McConnell, and then, what are you getting with Pressler in the Senate? The last thing McConnell, Thune and their ilk want is to go after the Too Big to Fail Billionaires Club that bankroll the GOP. With Weiland, you have a happy warrior who's committed to shoo the fat cats out the door.

  6. Don Coyote 2014.09.22

    And yet for all the "perfection" in the Weiland campaign, he remains stuck at 28% / 29%. His tilt to the left of Obama has garnered him nothing. Pressler has picked up most of the Independents and disaffected Republicans.

    The EB-5 debate/issue is complex and confusing enough that even Weiland is forced to reduce it to the bumper sticker bromide of "Citizenship Shouldn't Be for Sale", running counter to both his former boss, Sen Daschle, and the man he seeks to replace, Sen Johnson, votes on EB-5, a truly bi-partisan piece of legislation that received only 3 nay votes in Congress the last time it was authorized.

    Even Barbara Jordan's (former Democrat Rep from Texas) commission on immigration reform in 1995 called for an immigration policy that "serves the national interest by ensuring the entry of those who will contribute most to our society" and one that "helps to generate jobs and economic growth".

  7. 96Tears 2014.09.22

    Don - EB-5 is a funding source. Mike Rounds' cronies found ways to stuff that money into their pockets and their pals' pockets, which is the focus of the issue.

    What you are saying is like confusing the difference between banks and bank robbers. There is nothing confusing to the people of South Dakota about embezzlement, or no bid contracts to handle and swindle other people's money, or systemic corruption of Rounds' administration starting from the Governor's Office of Economic Development to the S.D. Board of Regents.

    The obvious tactic of the Rounds campaign is to keep blowing smoke to blur Rounds' ethical and legal violations.

  8. Steve Huff 2014.09.22

    From my perspective, it appears that Weiland is DOA not because he is not running a good campaign, but because of Pressler's presence in the race. The good news is that in a 2 horse race you can have a near 20 point lead going into election month and blow the race - just ask Gordon Lightfoot in Iowa (1998) when he ran against Vilsack in Iowa.

  9. Chris S. 2014.09.22

    I'm still waiting to hear anyone explain how it's possible that Pressler would reclaim seniority in the Senate after years of absence and running as an "Independent." Nobody of either party currently in the Senate is going to give up their seniority for a third-party guy who left the Senate (after losing his election) in 1996.

    I know the Senate is a hidebound chamber of privilege and tradition, but it's nuts to think anybody there now is going to give up their plum committee assignments for someone who last served there 18 years ago. Maybe there's a rule stating that anybody returning to the Senate automatically regains his seniority no matter how long he's been out. I'm skeptical. But even if such a rule exists, they'll rewrite it faster than you can say "filibuster reform" to keep their own seniority intact.

    In short, I don't get where this PRESSLER WILL HAZ SENIORITY wishful thinking is coming from.

  10. 96Tears 2014.09.22

    Fear not. Larry Pressler was going to get his "bump" once Rounds started taking on water. Still 44 days left and I predict people will soon realize why they had enough Larry Pressler back in 1996. When people take a closer look, they may want a new face instead of retreaded Republican hacks like Rounds and Pressler.

  11. larry kurtz 2014.09.22

    Rounds should leave the campaign and endorse Gordon Howie.

  12. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.22

    " The Senate has eleven factors that are used to determine seniority in the chamber, and they are:

    Amount of time serving as United States Senator in a consecutive manner

    Having been a United States Senator at a previous time. In other words, having served in non-consecutive terms

    The length of time that a Senator has served in prior non-consecutive terms

    Senator was a former member of the United States House of Representatives

    Length of time the Senator served in the House of Representatives

    The Senator was a former President

    The Senator was a former Vice President

    The Senator was a former cabinet member

    The Senator was a former state governor

    The population of the state that the Senator represents as recorded by the most recent census from when such Senator took office in the United States Senate

    Alphabetical according to last name, which is used in the case of two Senators being sworn in on the same day, representing the same state, and have same credentials or political experience in their careers."

    I'm not saying LP is the best man, only that he would have more seniority.

    When one looks at this alone, " The population of the state that the Senator represents as recorded by the most recent census from when such Senator took office in the United States Senate." You will find that size does matter, and SD needs ever advantage it can get.

    The Blindman

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.22

    Larry Pressler has yet to tell us which party he will caucus with and won't until after he wins the election, that should concern both Democrats and Republican.

  14. Chris S. 2014.09.22

    Thanks, Bill, for that info. Where does that come from? Senate rules, correct? If so, they can change those rules anytime they want. Besides which, I don't think seniority guarantees the Senator any plum committee chairs. The Senator might have cumulative seniority for whether s/he is called the "senior Senator" or "junior Senator" from a state, or for calculating who is the Senator Pro Tem. However, it doesn't appear to have any real effect on which committees to which the Majority Leader or Minority Leader would assign that Senator — particularly when the erstwhile Senator is being coy about which party he might caucus with. I highly doubt either Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell would assign Pressler to the Appropriations Committee, for example. Presumably he'd be assigned to something lower and more boring than the Rules Committee, if such a thing exists.

  15. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.22

    Weiland and Pressler must make a deal so that Rounds can be defeated. One must throw his support to the other.

    Pressler agrees to bow to Weiland on the condition that Weiland _________________.


    Weiland stops his campaign on the condition that Pressler caucuses soley with Democrats and promotes Weiland to succeed Pressler's one term.

    Something like that. That's the sound path that leads to a Republican defeat. That's genuine citizenship and political action for the people. Egos must go or Rounds will stay.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.22

    Sorry to disagree with you Deb.

    The key to Weiland winning is getting the vote out for him, getting Democrats to vote early (and often).

    No one is dropping out of this race, political egos forbid it.

  17. jerry 2014.09.22

    The lazy good for nothing cowards, NOem and Thune will have plenty of time to bail out their crime boss Rounds. They have left Washington and will take another 2 month sabbatical while we have another undeclared proxy war. Bombs are falling right now in Syria, but our dust bunny and lurch are nowhere to take any kind of action. Too busy being cool.

    "We’ll see if Kristi Noem and John Thune come to his rescue." If these two choose to that is. It would be kind of cool to ask NOem about her stint during the time of the EB-5 ponzi scheme, just for clarification. What did she know and when did she know of it and what was her involvement as a leader in republican state government?

  18. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.22

    I know you disagree Roger. If Rounds wins, it will be due to those egos.

    Do you really think there are enough votes for Weiland out there? What makes you think that?

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.23


    Rounds is getting weaker everyday that questions remained unanswered, a lot of them.

    Why do I think Rick can win? Tim Johnson, Democrats always turned out for Tim and he never lost an election. Hopefully Democrats will recognize that Rick is running against three Republicans, regardless what initial they have after their name.

  20. Jenny 2014.09.23

    Roger, usually you make sense. Is Tim Johnson running for election this year?

  21. George Rokusek 2014.09.23

    Weiland can win, he has a lot of support on the ground to get out votes. As to Pressler's seniority claim. I don't think it matters, otherwise Daschle would not have lost as Senate Minority leader or would Pressler have lost to Johnson in 1996. Weiland can win. It is Weiland vs. 3 Republicans. It is that simple.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.23

    Deb, I'm with Roger. We don't win through a trick. We win the old-fashioned way: making the case that we have the best candidate. George points to one good way to do that: point out that if you're not voting Weiland, you're voting Republican. Even if that makes people hearing it go "yum yum!" it divides that vote among Pressler, Howie, and that other guy and solidifies voters who buy that Republicans are bad for South Dakota behind Weiland.

  23. jerry 2014.09.23

    Some South Dakotan's like me remember how the head of the criminal enterprise got elected in the first place. It was not that Rounds was so popular, it was because he was in a three way. The other two beat the crap out of one another and we all saw how flawed they were. The capo Rounds walked in without ever having been vetted at all. Now, the voters know all to well what a crooked little coward this guy is and they are still clear that Pressler sold them out as well. I think Weiland has shown his integrity and has shown that he is not on the take like the rest of the republicans on the ticket (hint: Rounds, Pressler and the other guy). Send some moolah to Rick and lets get going.

  24. Steve Sibson 2014.09.23

    "Larry Pressler has yet to tell us which party he will caucus"

    Pressler will be representing those who control both parties. That is what Rhodes Scholars do.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.23

    I made no mention of a Tim Johnson candidacy, I referred to Tim Johnson Democratic base that kept him I office, hopefully Rick is building on that Johnson base.

  26. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.23

    Okay, I hear you on Rick's chances. I have supported him financially, and I will again.

    GO RICK!!!!!!!

  27. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.23

    Oh my god! This is the best Democratic ad ever! Rick's campaign probably influenced these 3 wonderful women.

    Seriously, you must check this out.

    P.S. Juanita Jean's is one of the most fun and completely irreverent political blogs ever. The commenters are just as clever as she is. Thanks Larry for telling us about her.

  28. mike from iowa 2014.09.24

    Rachel Maddow doesn't represent people who control both parties. She is a Rhodes Scholar. So was Amorous Bill.

  29. mike from iowa 2014.09.24

    Deb-you made the big time,girl. You got a mention at JJ's.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.24

    Deb, we've found your soul sisters! That Therapy Sisters video is great. I know they've got their hands full fighting to turn Texas blue, but Rick Weiland should get them to write a South Dakota fight song and invite them to play Rickstock East!

  31. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.24

    I like tem girls

    The Blindman

  32. Lynn 2014.09.24

    Great Video Deb! When I watched their video I had a feeling they reside in Austin since it all seemed like Austin! I lived in Austin for two years back in the 80's

    Keep Austin Weird! :)

  33. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.24

    You out done yourself Deb, great video. Thanks for finding it.
    Like Cory said, invite them to Rickstock East.

  34. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.24

    Awe shucks folks.

    That was so good. Maybe I'll have to comment there, though I never have. I might encourage them to hear Rick's musical ads. Anyone got a link handy?

  35. mike from iowa 2014.09.24

    They have a Facebook page. The Therapy Sisters.

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