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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Great. Another Old ‘Moderate’ Republican Launches an Independent Bid



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From the Morning Jolt, back in February:

One thing we do need to establish going forward is that the right way to sort these divisions out is through primaries, and that this third-party spoiler crap has to end immediately. Here in Virginia, lieutenant governor Bill Bolling is the latest GOP lawmaker to flirt with the I’m-gonna-lose-the-party-nomination-so-I’ll-leave Club. If Bolling bolts, he’ll join Charlie Crist of Florida and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; we can throw in Arlen Specter flipping parties, too.

Hey, guys, “if I stay in the party I’ll lose the nomination, and I don’t want to” is not a principled reason to leave the party.

Here we go again. In South Dakota, a state with a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of R+10, a self-described moderate Republican who endorsed Obama twice, at the ripe young age of 71, is making a comeback Senate bid:

Is South Dakota ready for a comeback from Larry Pressler?

Turned out of the Senate after three terms by Tim Johnson in 1996, Pressler will run for the same seat 18 years later.

“Today, I am announcing that I am running for the United States Senate, and I intend to win,” Pressler said.

But Pressler, 71, a lifelong Republican who was in the GOP for his entire time in Congress, won’t be in that party’s crowded primary. Instead, he’d run as an independent, giving voters next November a third choice between presumed Democratic nominee Rick Weiland and the Republicans’ top candidate.

In an R+10 state, a Republican has a strong advantage. In an R+10 state, with one Democratic candidate, one Republican candidate, and one independent candidate who spent three terms as a Republican, the Democrat has a shot.


Tags: Larry Pressler , South Dakota , Rick Weiland


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