- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler of South Dakota, now running as an independent candidate in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, said he’s disappointed in a new ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee likening him to Democratic candidate Rick Weiland.

“My philosophy hasn’t changed very much, but this is what I’m running against — this labeling and condemning,” Mr. Pressler told The Washington Times Wednesday. “I was on the Republican senatorial committee for 18 years.”

National Democrats and Republicans are quickly wading a race that both sides long thought to be safely in hand for the GOP to pick up. Recent polling shows Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds with a lead but Mr. Weiland and Mr. Pressler nipping at his heels.

Mr. Pressler has gotten attention for supporting President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but he pointed out that he held a fundraiser for 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and gave $2,500 to his campaign and that he would consider both of them as friends.

He says he doesn’t agree with ‘hardly anything” Mr. Obama is doing these days — but that he does need working partners in the U.S. Senate.

“Barack Obama needs friends in the United States Senate,” he said. “I think Barack Obama has kind of gone astray…but if I get there I’m going to try to help him and work with him.”

On Mr. Pressler’s schedule later Wednesday, he noted, is a cowboy poetry reading.

“We have a lot of cowboy poetry in western South Dakota,” he said.

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