From the Hill comes a good indication that Larry Pressler is complicating things for Rick Weiland, leading national Democrats to declare the seat lost to them:
Spoiler alert: As both Democrats Republicans calculate their odds of a Senate majority, several third party candidates are complicating their math.
Republicans were already in good position in this open seat race when Democrats failed to recruit a top-tier candidate. But the nail in Democrats’ coffin came when former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler’s decided to make an independent bid, and pivoted to the center-left to do so.
The few public polls of the race indicate that Pressler and Democratic candidate Rick Weiland are splitting Democrats and independents, giving former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) a huge lead.
“Even without Pressler it would have been hard. But he’s pulling the people we would have needed to have a shot,” admitted one national Democratic strategist.
Read it all here.
This is why National Democrats didn’t want someone as awful as Rick Weiland to run. Because when a third party anomaly gets into the race, even one who had formerly been a Republican as Larry Pressler, it’s not damaging the vote for Republican candidate Mike Rounds.
It’s splitting up the anti-Mike Rounds vote.
When you look at electoral math, each candidate is going to bring a certain amount of the vote with themselves. And, they’ll pick up a part of the vote against the other person, because even in a race where there’s just a “yes” and “no,” you’ll always get a certain percentage who cast a “no” vote.
Look at uncontested Supreme Court judicial retention races. There is a percentage of people who vote against them all the time.
The percentage of people Rick Weiland brings with him is very, very minimal. Nothing like you’d see from a Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, or a Brendan Johnson.
Why can’t Rick deliver? Because Weiland is awful. He’s won one election, and that was after a slash-and-burn campaign against his fellow Democrats:
In May of 1996, Andal resigned as chairman of the Minnehaha County Democrat Party, saying that Democrat congressional candidate Jim Abbott had both contributed money to the state Republican party and had accepted thousands of dollars from Republican sources for his congressional campaign. Twenty minutes after Andal released his resignation letter to the press, Democrat congressional candidate Rick Weiland issued a press release attacking Abbott’s Republican connections.
Read that here.
When the rubber hits the road, at best, all Weiland can deliver is a slim majority of the minority Democrat voters. So the “anti-vote” against Mike Rounds is a precious, precious commodity to him. It’s impossible for him to win without it. He needs everything he can muster from his liberal democrat base, PLUS the anti-Rounds vote.
But while Weiland pursued that “anti-Mike” vote, he didn’t realize that someone that they thought would be able to steal Pro-Rounds votes – Larry Pressler – would ignore chasing after Republicans and make a hard left turn, and go after Weiland’s own base.
There were hints, such as his amicus brief on gay marriage and his support for president Obama, but it became evident after the campaign started that instead of trying to court the GOP that the foppish Pressler had left behind decades ago, Pressler went straight for Weiland’s hard liberal base.
Despite Weiland campaign ties to the Obama campaign…
Rick Weiland has hired the national political consultants Democracy Partners to help run his U.S. Senate campaign, the Democrat announced at 6:17 p.m. on a Friday.
Mike Lux, the co-founder of Democracy Partners singled out in Weiland’s release, is a veteran Democratic political operative dating back two decades. He was recently a liaison for the Barack Obama transition team “to the progressive community.”
Read that here.
…he’s actively avoided embracing President Obama, going so far as to skip an Obama appearance on a ND/SD Indian Reservation.
But at the same time Weiland shuns Obama, Pressler can’t get enough of him:
In a seemingly counter-intuitive move, independent U.S. Senate candidate Larry Pressler is doubling down on his ties to President Barack Obama instead of distancing himself from a president unpopular in South Dakota.
Pressler will hold a news conference this afternoon in which he invites Obama to come to South Dakota to discuss “how the Affordable Care Act can be tailored and fixed to work in small-town, rural South Dakota.”
Read that here.
When it comes to Obama, or for that matter his liberal base, Weiland is like a nervous suitor. He gets to the door, and sometimes knocks. But before it opens, he runs away and hides in the bushes.
Compare that to Pressler banging on the door actively seeking the time and attention of the Liberal Democrat base. There comes a point when, as much as they might want want Weiland, they get weary of his timidity.
With Weiland’s unwillingness to give voice to any support of President Obama, Pressler is effectively making inroads into Weiland’s base.
And he’s making enough inroads to lead national Democrats – the ones who are monitoring the numbers – to give voice to the fact that for Rick Weiland, it’s over in South Dakota.