South Dakota's Larry Pressler Running for Senate Again, as Independent

Image: South Dakota's Larry Pressler Running for Senate Again, as Independent

Sunday, 29 Dec 2013 01:36 PM

By Greg Richter

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Longtime Republican Sen. Larry Pressler is throwing his hat into the ring for his old job – this time as an independent.

Pressler, 71, served three terms in the U.S. Senate from South Dakota from 1979 to 1997, when he was defeated by Democrat Tim Johnson, who is not seeking re-election in 2014.

Republicans aiming to take control of the Senate in the midterms have a large field of candidates vying for Johnson's seat, while Democrats so far have only Rick Weiland seeking the post. Pressler's candidacy throws uncertainly in a race that had been seen as one of the GOP's best hopes, The Washington Post notes.

Pressler said he wants to offer an alternative to people fed up with both parties, The Argus-Leader of Sioux Falls reports.

"I want to ... end the poisonous bipartisan deadlock in Washington," Pressler said.

The moderate Pressler endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 and in 2012, but said he doesn't feel that will hurt him in November.

South Dakota voted against Obama in large numbers.

He says he is a "deficit hawk," who wants to cut military spending as part of a plan to balance the federal budget.

Others weren't as convinced of Pressler's chances as the he is.

"It’s hard for me to believe that people are going to take Larry Pressler seriously as a contender for the United States Senate," Stu Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, told The Argus Leader. "There will be some people who like the idea that he’s not a Republican or Democrat, and are so outraged with Washington that they say we need an independent. But it’s not as easy as that."

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