Most South Dakotans believe that we need campaign finance reform.
As I’ve said before, one of my favorite things about Rick Weiland is that he’s not out of state raising money, pandering to liberals (even the national Dems aren’t enthused by him and his independent streak) and raising out of state dollars.
He’s in South Dakota communities talking to voters like he ought to be. When Rounds is in Dallas, TX, shaking down Big Oil for money, as Weiland says, he himself is in Dallas, SD, visiting with voters.
Then again some Republicans and Independents enjoy talking about how Weiland has raised money, according to Pressler about $4 million dollars worth.
Weiland told me himself today that when it comes to Keystone XL he hopes that a very vocal anti-Keystone XL guy will send some money his way so that Weiland can take to the air to discuss the realities behind Keystone XL and show it for the bipartisan issue it really is.
I can’t argue with that.
So, when Larry Pressler starts pointing jabs at Weiland for raising more than him, I would have still blogged about it. I had just put my $10 into a little box before Rick’s campaign manager packed up their things from the townhall they did at the Rapid City Public Library today.
Looking at the flyer from Pressler, my humble $10 wasn’t even on his radar. So, considering how much he asks for coupled with how he and his wife lauded that they are spending money meant for their retirement on his campaign…I suddenly had a different reaction.
I felt nervous.
Rather than arousing sympathy in me for this guy running without party support of any kind and no money to speak of, pulling from he and his wife’s retirement accounts, I felt nervous for him.
And then really concerned.
When did refusing to spend all your time out-of-state to raise Big Money translate into pulling from your retirement fund or saying you can’t even buy bumper stickers to hand out?
Pressler said that and more to the subject, and I couldn’t help but feel the pendulum had definitely swung too far in the opposite direction.
This specific topic shouldn’t be how little money candidates can raise, but how to do so responsibly.
People who know me know I took huge financial losses when I first started Sustainable Dakota years back.
So, I’m all for passion and idealism.
But there must be a line drawn somewhere.
Today, I spend the bulk of my time working hard for an employer and becoming financially stable so that I can care for my family.
I personally do not care how much money Rick Weiland brings in from out of state or how many big contributions he gets. While I believe in his constitutional amendment to reform campaign refinancing, what I truly care about is how much time those running for office spend with those they will be representing.
And not just the rich ones, but the regular folks. The middle class and the poor.
I believe Weiland only takes what is responsible for him to accept. Either the money supports something he has already made known as one of his issues, or it is from regular grassroots folks.
I will leave it to Cory and Madville Times to crunch the numbers on all of this, but I want to speak to the way Weiland handles the dilemma of running for office, campaign fundraising and his idealism regarding campaign finance reform.
I think he shows how responsible he is to both the regular voters and the very stark realities of running for office and aiming to win when Big Money is at play.
When Pressler attempts to pull at heart strings by stating he’s using retirement funds (and he’s no spring chicken to be frank), then I wonder how responsible a man he is. I felt bad for his wife.
Rick Weiland’s responsible campaign fundraising is a testament to how he will handle complicated issues in Washington. I think he shows great leadership and a strong progressive stance in working through this complicated issue without leaving legitimate money on the table.
I have no doubt this campaign has taken a lot from Weiland and his family in many ways, and I am sure their pocketbook is no exception.
However, considering Pressler is a late comer to this race when we already had a strong, ethical candidate to go up against Crony Corruption Mike Rounds, I am disheartened to hear that he is pulling from his retirement to the tune of $250,000 total for his campaign.
Weiland is the clear leader in this race and after seeing Larry Pressler today speak to the Voice of the Independents group, I am even more assured I’m voting and DONATING to the right guy.
PS I challenge my readers who support Weiland, but haven’t donated to his campaign, yet, to join me today in sending in $10. Trust me, if I can do it, most of you can too. That’s why Rick asks his supporters for $9. Rick didn’t ask me to do this, but I wanted to. Let’s support Rick with our votes and with dollars so that he can continue to up his name recognition against corrupt Mike Rounds who people will vote for purely because they recognize his name, and he has an “R” behind it.