Steve Hildebrand, deputy national campaign director for Obama's presidential campaignwill not run against Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the SD House Democratic primary. Hildebrand
had said he likely would run against Herseth Sandlin if her vote against the health care reform measure caused it to fail.
It is widely accepted that Herseth Sandlin, being in a tough re-election race this fall, was able to vote against the HCR bill since there were enough votes to pass it.
But that doesn't make any SD progressives happy. Although the filing deadline is looming, there may still be a primary challenger: Dr. Kevin Weiland.
The Middle Border Sun reports that two separate emails have been received reporting that Dr. Kevin Weiland, an internist from Rapid City is considering a run if he can get the necessary petitions filed by Friday.
Dr. Weiland, a graduate of the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota trained in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of The Dakota Diet
In 2007, Beau LeBeau had had enough. In high school he had been one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of Pine Ridge, but at age 36 he was over-weight, diabetic, and angry at the world. That's when he made the decision to hook up with Dr. Kevin Weiland, a Rapid City physician, and author of The Dakota Diet, in search of the traditional Lakota buffalo diet, and a path to restored health. Beau's journey was captured in the movie Good Meat, produced by Larry Pourier and Sam Hurst for Native American Public Television.
He has also been outspoken on public health issues including smoking and had this to say about health care reform:
"It's a step forward to some change that has been needed for the last 20, 30 years," Dr. Kevin Weiland, a Rapid City internist, said.
Physicians are excited by the expansion of health insurance coverage. The result will be a healthier population because of an increase in preventive care, Weiland said. For example, rather than seeing patients at the late stages of untreated diabetes, doctors can help patients manage such diseases before they become debilitating and expensive.
While the expense of both bills is significant, society will recoup those costs with a healthier population, Weiland said.
"A healthy society is a richer society," he said. "We're going to save so much more in the money recouped from taxes because our citizens are productive."
Reprinted here (from my last diary about a primary challenge) is Madville Times November 8, 2009 prescient post:
- It's not health care alone that has me looking for other options. Credit card reform, student loan reform, climate change/ACESA, now health care reform... I thought the point of compromise was to save up political capital so you could fight hard for the big issues. Instead, SHS seems to go conservative on the big bills that matter.
- The Republicans are not our only option. We do have a primary... potentially a very interesting primary, now that we've opened the door to independents. Perhaps now is the perfect time to have a referendum on this issue. Let's have a public conversation on what the South Dakota Democratic Party is about. Are we simply the permanent loyal opposition, comic relief in a state where the only Dems who survive in office are those who play to a center-right that we tell ourselves will never change? Or are we a party of leaders who acknowledge and understand our state's conservative history but refuse to be bound by it? Do we continue to compromise and apologize for being Democrats, or do we run a candidate who represents "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"?
Let's put that question to our primary voters. Let's find a Paul Wellstone, a George McGovern (or an Al Franken?). Let's have a primary.
How many signatures can Dr. Weiland get by Friday? How much support can he get from us?
UPDATE - I think this is a fair question - it's just hard to see the financial reality of attempting this. No to Primary - how about a Yes to Thune Challenger?
It is often pointed out just how difficult it is to face off with Thune:
University of South Dakota political science professor Bill Richardson said potential Democratic candidates likely are hesitant to run against Thune because he is popular and has a huge advantage in campaign fundraising. His campaign reported it had $5.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30... Thune spent about $13 million when he won the Senate seat in 2004, and Daschle spent more than that.
Herseth Sandlin does have a tough race for the House. Any Thune opponent would have a tough race for the Senate. But in a state so dominated by Republican lawmakers at the local level, this may be a way to get name recognition for future progressive candidates. And for that alone, I'm glad there is some interest in debating these issues.