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This was covered in the DKE section today but I wanted to touch upon it.  PPP has some new numbers out of South Dakota and we are seeing a crazy race emerge.  First off, former Governor Mike Rounds (R. SD) is still in the lead over Rick Weiland (D. SD) but there's a catch:

Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey continues to find Mike Rounds stuck under 40%. Right now 38% of voters say they intend to vote for him to 28% for Rick Weiland, 15% for Larry Pressler, and 4% for Gordon Howie. There are several encouraging findings for Weiland within the poll results:

-Most of Rounds’ early lead is based on having higher name recognition than Weiland, and Weiland actually has the advantage among voters who have heard of him. 82% of voters are familiar with Rounds compared to 67% for Weiland, but among the group that has heard of Weiland he leads 38/36. That bodes well for his prospects as he becomes better known.

-Weiland (+6) has a higher net favorability rating than Rounds (even). 36% of voters see him favorably to only 30% who have a negative opinion of him. Meanwhile voters are evenly divided on Rounds with 41% rating him positively and 41% with an unfavorable view. - PPP, 5/7/14

But on the issues, Weiland dominates Rounds:
-On several issues that will be key in this race, voters side with Weiland’s view over Rounds’ by a wide margin. After being read a description of each candidate’s views on Medicare, South Dakotans say they agree more with Weiland’s position by a 15 point margin, 45/30. And when it comes to the Ryan budget 53% of voters say they side more with Weiland’s point of view, compared to only 29% who go with Rounds. - PPP, 5/7/14
Independent voters are going to be key here for Weiland, 53/26 on the Medicare issue and 62/20 on the Ryan budget one.  And to think the conservative Washington Free Bacon mocked Weiland because he said he wasn't too liberal for South Dakota:

Turns out Weiland's views are more in line with South Dakota voters.  Now Weiland has taken some risky stances but this one could pay off:

Phase IV of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project would, if approved and constructed, cut across the state of South Dakota from its northwest corner through hundreds of miles of ranch land to the Nebraska border. If all the promises of jobs for workers and protection for the environment that have been made by Keystone proponents were well grounded, there’s good reason to believe that Rick Weiland might be on the forefront of efforts to get the project up and running.

Weiland’s a rural-state Democrat seeking to hold a Senate seat that has been in Democratic hands since 1997. It’s a hard race, where the pressure is on to appeal across lines of partisanship and ideology in a state that has not backed a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Political pundits would, no doubt, make excuses for Weiland if he finessed the Keystone debate with a politically convenient bow to Nebraska legal deliberations and ongoing assessments of the potential impact by federal agencies—as the US State Department did with its just-announced delay of a decision on whether to approve the $5.4 billion initiative.

But Weiland, a former congressional aide and regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has a long record of balancing economic and environmental concerns. And he is not prepared to avoid the issue.

The Democratic contender declares flatly, “I’m opposed to it.”

Like the members of the Cowboy Indian Alliance of ranchers, farmers and tribal communities from along the pipeline route, which this week is rallying in Washington to urge the administration to reject the Keystone XL proposal and protect the environment, Weiland has sorted the issue out in practical terms. - The Nation, 4/22/14

Native American voters have helped people like Senators Tim Johnson (D. SD) and Heidi Heitkamp (D. ND) win in red states and their support will be crucial for Weiland.  And Weiland came out in support of this today:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland says college students graduating with student loans carrying higher interest rates should get some relief.

Weiland said Wednesday that he's supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren's emergency loan refinancing act, which will allow people to refinance loans with rates of 5 percent and 6 percent down to 3.86 percent.

The lone Democrat in the crowded race for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson says that loans are used to pay for technical schools, not just colleges and universities. He says three-quarters of South Dakota graduates leave school with some debt. - Argus Leader, 5/7/14

Now, as for Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie's roles in this race, David Nir puts some things in perspective:
But Pressler and Howie couldn't be more different. Pressler, who's been out of office almost two decades, twice endorse Barack Obama and even served on a presidential commission. Howie, meanwhile, is a conservative true believer who is disgusted at the prospect of Rounds winning the GOP primary and wants to give fellow travelers an alternative in the general election. So while it's safe to say Howie is probably pulling from the right, it's a lot harder to determine whom Pressler is hurting more, especially because we don't have crosstabs.

What's more, 15 percent is a very high share for a third-party candidate, and it'll be hard for Pressler to sustain that, especially since he's not raising real money. But regardless of what happens with Pressler, something will need to change for Weiland, because even a weak plurality win for Rounds is still a win.

It six months away and who knows what can happen.  Weiland has made every stop in South Dakota and has done an excellent job distinguishing himself as the candidate who wants to get money out of politics while Rounds is the Super PAC candidate.  It might be a long uphill battle but Weiland's not giving up and we shouldn't give up on him either.  If you want to get involved and donate to Weiland's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed May 07, 2014 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Climate Hawks, and Native American Netroots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The 3rd and 4th party candidates are (3+ / 0-)

    a hope in this race.

    Rounds is beginning the race by running many many ads, with just blatant blatant falsehoods. He's running crap ads about Obamacare, he's lying about his record, and there has already been one LTTE about the lies.

    When his successor, Denny the Dummy, came into office, he spent a year talking about "structural deficits". Nobody has brought that up, but the "structural deficits" occurred under Rounds' administration. Essentially, "structural deficits" involve balancing the budget by using reserves. When is that going to come out?

    We also have the sad spectacle of the likely schizophrenic Annette Bosworth. The woman has some really serious problems with truth, lotteries, and actually housing. She appears to have a "successful" medical practice, but they live in an RV? Some serious crazy stuff there.

  •  SD-Sen. (6+ / 0-)

    This race has been given up as lost by everyone in the media: MSM and social...this might not be the case. The republican candidates all across the nation are so f'ing out of touch with the 21st century that they will once again shoot themselves in the crotch in any number of states. This will be the 3rd consecutive cycle that they destroy their chances of taking back the senate. In '16 and '18 I believe the #'s change and tend to favor dems.

    •  Excellent comments (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      SD is underrated.  there's still some of the prairie populism there that elected George McGovern, Jim Aborezk, and Tom Daschle.  This is indeed a possible Democratic hold.

      Rounds, as Governor, is vulnerable for everything that happened while he was in the Gov's Mansion.  Governors do not transition to Senators easily.  Many are used to be being treated with the high honors a state's chief executive receives.  One gaffe indicating any sense of entitlement on his part will sway thousands of voters against him.  

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Kangaroo on Wed May 07, 2014 at 07:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can also contribute through the peace PAC CLW (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Council for a Livable World here, which is appropriate for McGovern's state.

        Thanks profoundly for the diary, I like to target my limited donations to strong progressives in competitive races.  I just gave via CLW, to send a message as well as help the candidate - a given contribution will have a disproportionate impact in low population states like SD.

        Here is an excerpt of CLW's analysis:

        Rick Weiland is running a determinedly populist campaign to replace Democratic Senator Tim Johnson. Modeling himself after President Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign against the “malefactors of great wealth,” he argues that big money has Congress in a headlock, that CEOs’ salaries are much too high compared to those of workers, and that Apple Inc. brags about paying its taxes while stashing funds in low-tax countries.

        The Mount Rushmore state, heavily influenced by farming, was home to the first candidate that Council for a Livable World ever endorsed, a young professor named George McGovern in 1962. Since that time, Council has backed winning Democratic candidates such as Senators Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson and James Abourezk.

        Weiland is a fifth-generation South Dakotan born in small town Madison, South Dakota… He began his political career during college, when he worked on Tom Daschle’s first Congressional campaign in 1978, eventually rising to become Daschle’s Senior Adviser and State Director. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him field director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of coping with disasters in six states. He also served as state director for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), CEO of the non-profit International Code Council and owner of a Sioux Falls restaurant.

        Weiland is a progressive on national security issues as well. He was an early opponent of using military force in Syria, saying he has “grown weary of these international conflicts” and is “...opposed to any unilateral decision by the United States to declare war on Syria."

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:40:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much for this diary. I had paid no (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepeco, Albanius, BMScott, tgrshark13

    attention to the SD race up to now and it certainly seems as if it has the potential to be one of the seats that saves the majority for the Democrats in the Senate. While it is true that no Senate race is cheap, it's also true that a SD race is way less costly than a lot of them and progressives getting behind a good candidate in SD could well make the difference in this race.

    I love that he is out there on KeystoneXL. And, why shouldn't he be? What's in it for SD except disruption? But, even though siding with the farmers and ranchers in the pipeline's path might seem the obvious position to take, i'm still really pleased that he's so unequivocal about it.

    A former governor with only a 40% positive rating in the polls? He can be defeated. I'm happy to know about Wieland and appreciate your taking the time to provide so much information about him, his positions and the race.

    The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

    by Alice Olson on Wed May 07, 2014 at 07:42:09 PM PDT

  •  SD is lost (0+ / 0-)

    Being down 10% is not "encouraging". The word I'd use is "brutal". Rounds will win, and win big. It's not a question of courting a Democratic coalition in the state, which is certainly achievable between a generic D and a generic R. The question is bringing down a popular ex-governor. That's just not happening short of a major scandal.

    TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

    by Le Champignon on Wed May 07, 2014 at 08:24:13 PM PDT

    •  38 percent is not exactly unbeatably popular (0+ / 0-)
      Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey continues to find Mike Rounds stuck under 40%. Right now 38% of voters say they intend to vote for him

      There's no such thing as a free market!

      by Albanius on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:42:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

        the setup here is rather like the situation in Maine.

        As with LePage, 38% could be all Rounds needs to win.

        "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

        by JackND on Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:08:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  well, Heitkamp was down that much... (0+ / 0-)

      for much of the election season in 2012.

      Rounds will win though, but because the race is a three way.

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:11:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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