Bob Mercer advances the wild theory that the huge outside Democratic and progressive investment in Rick Weiland will destroy Larry Pressler and guarantee a Mike Rounds win. But Mercer acknowledges that Rounds won't win on his own merits; he says the dumb luck that made him the "accidental governor" could make him the "accidental senator."
Jonathan Ellis rides in to support the latter portion of Mercer's thesis, saying Rounds has run an awful campaign:
Rounds reassembled a campaign team from his days as governor. The team was adequate for a governor’s race. The problem is, nobody outside of South Dakota cares who is governor of the state. Senate races are fought on an entirely different level — the difference between high school football and pro football. GOP leaders were concerned that Rounds and his team didn’t grasp this reality. As it turns out, justifiably so [Jonathan Ellis, "Why It's a Close Race for Senate," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.11].
Exhibit #1 of Team Rounds's incompetence is the fact that they are in a statistical dead heat with Larry Pressler. Exhibit #2 is their inability to effectively rebut the EB-5 attacks that they have known since last November would be coming. Exhibit #3 is the money they've thrown away with corny capitalist ad firm Lawrence & Schiller on ads that make Rounds sound like a crybaby:
Consider Rounds’ television ads: Through June, the campaign had paid the advertising firm Lawrence & Schiller $1.3 million for a campaign that at best was unremarkable and at worst tone deaf to the realities of the race. Rounds has invoked his father — his father! — in one ad to deflect criticism of his handling of the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Seriously, it’s come down to, “My daddy is going to beat up your daddy,” in a U.S. Senate race [Ellis, 2014.10.11].
Ellis agrees with Mercer that "Rounds owes his political career to luck."
Campaigns are auditions for public service. Campaigns are a chance to demonstrate the skills to organize, manage, persuade, spend wisely, and respond quickly to changing situations. Mike Rounds, in this campaign as well as throughout his legacyless governorship, has demonstrated he has no such skills. He just cruises along, flashing his smile, letting cronies get rich, and hoping his luck holds.
Mike Rounds was an awful governor. He is an awful candidate. He would be an awful Senator. Rewarding Mike's incompetence with a Senate seat would be as immoral as rewarding Joop Bollen's corruption with a no-bid contract.