Press Release: Pressler Surges in SD Senate Race; National Movement Underway For Senate Control




October 3, 2014





Washington, DC — Two new polls show Independent candidate Larry Pressler, of South Dakota, surging in the polls in his bid to return to the U.S. Senate. A Nielson Brothers Polling/Northern Plains News poll shows former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler making substantial gains on Republican front-runner Mike Rounds and nearly tied with Democrat Rick Weiland. A SurveyUSA poll shows that Pressler, a former three-term Republican U.S. Senator, is the only candidate in his race gaining ground with voters across the political spectrum. Pressler is a strong contender to win the election, appealing to voters fed up with partisan bickering, who are turning to Pressler at the expense of the major party candidates.

"Our message of ending the poisonous partisan gridlock in Washington is resonating across South Dakota,” said Pressler. Pressler has pledged to set aside partisan politics and focus on the core issues of critical importance to all Americans.

The NBP/NBN poll shows Pressler's support has increased from 14 to 24 percent – a 10 point gain from the last NBP/NBN poll conducted in late July. In those same polls, both Rounds and Weiland dropped four points, from 43 to 39 percent and 30 to 26 percent. Similarly, SurveyUSA has Pressler at 25 percent and gaining, with the leading candidate, Republican Mike Rounds, at 39 percent and falling. Pressler is nearly tied with Weiland.



“This is a critical moment in American politics,” said Charles Wheelan, founder of The Centrist Project, and a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College and the bestselling author of Naked Economics. “Electing Senator Pressler would be a definitive statement from South Dakota voters that they are fed up with politics as usual and that across the country, voters will elect candidates who put their constituents ahead of partisanship. This race warrants national attention – it will be a major factor in determining the power balance in the Senate” said Wheelan.


Pressler’s race is emblematic of a growing movement in American politics. Voters, frustrated with the increasing political polarization in Congress, are increasingly turning to candidates such as Larry Pressler in South Dakota and Greg Orman in Kansas; moderate centrists willing to work for the best policies rather than be beholden to party extremes. Both Pressler and Orman are gaining rapidly in recent polls, with credible chances at winning their elections.


“These races are the ones to watch carefully in 2014. Each race has the ability to transform American politics, starting a historic movement” Wheelan said. Wheelan notes that in a tightly divided Senate, it only takes 4-5 Independent and centrist Senators to band together to be the decisive votes on the critical policy issues of our time. In doing so, the parties would have to come toward the middle, away from their extremes, in order to pass legislation. In turn, other centrists will be encouraged to run, catapulting the movement forward, and helping to end the partisan gridlock dominating politics today.


For Pressler, Wheelan points out that “his past seniority will be important if he won election again. With Senate control up for grabs he would be sought, as an independent, by both major parties for his vote on key issues. As a deciding vote, policies would have to be more moderate and centrist to win approval,” said Wheelan.


The Centrist Project Voice is the nation’s first political action committee endorsing candidates ready to set aside partisan politics and focus on the core issues of critical importance to all Americans. The Centrist Project Voice is designed to empower the neglected but growing political middle by channeling the support of centrist Americans from across the country to a handful of key U.S. Senate candidates. With control of the Senate up for grabs in 2014, the election of but few pragmatic moderates who band together as a coalition would have a disproportionate impact on the chamber as a whole. To that end, The Centrist Project Voice endorsed the following candidates running for U.S. senate seats this fall:  Larry Pressler of South Dakota, Greg Orman of Kansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Michelle Nunn of Georgia, and Jill Bossi of South Carolina.





The Centrist Project Voice is a separate segregated fund (SSF) of The Centrist Project. It is the first PAC to promote centrist candidates regardless of party affiliation. The Centrist Project is a 501(c)4 membership organization focused breaking the gridlock in Washington by changing political incentives and helping elect responsible leaders. Its Centrist Principles include fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, social tolerance, economic opportunity and a pragmatic approach to solving policy challenges. More information about the Centrist Project Voice and its endorsed candidates is available at More information about The Centrist Project is available at



To speak with Charles Wheelan or the candidates endorsed by the Centrist Project Voice please contact:

Pam Peak, Executive Director

312.848.9726 | | @CentProj

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