Slight News: Dem Candidate publicly supports ACA. Big News: In South Dakota. Really Big News: So does his formerly-Republican opponent!

Hat Tip To: 
Cindy D.

In an election where people like me are practically begging Democratic candidates in blue states to campaign on the Affordable Care Act, this is a jaw-dropping development.

South Dakota's Senate race normally would be considered a yawner. While the state does have a history of electing the moderate Democrats from time to time, it's pretty red for the most part, and no one was expecting Democrat Rick Weiland to have much of a chance against former Republican Governor Mike Rounds.

However, in an interesting development, independent candidate Larry Pressler has jumped into 2nd place in a recent poll. The thing is, Pressler isn't some no-name small timer; he's already a former U.S. Senator, serving for 3 terms before losing to Democrat Tim Johnson in 1996.

With Johnson retiring, his seat is open, and Pressler wants it back, so he's jumped back into the game. Here's the thing, though: Pressler used to be a Republican. In South Dakota.

In any event, what was considered a no-brainer GOP victory until a week or so ago has now turned into a 3-way free-for-all (the new poll has Rounds, Pressler & Weiland at 35, 32 & 28 respectively).

All of which makes this story all the more eyebrow-raising:

Sioux Falls, SD (KELO AM) - Proof that the large pharmaceutical companies are just plain lying to American public came on the Sunday evening 60 Minutes when they revealed how insurance companies arbitrarily set extravagantly large prices for cancer drugs with no cost basis and basically give some doctors a kickback. “It is outrageous news,” said Senator Larry Pressler. “This proves the need for the Affordable Care Act.”

...Pressler said, “I have lost all confidence in today’s large corporations acting in public interest. We need the Affordable Care Act. I believe that last night’s 60 Minutes indicates that my approach to healthcare for South Dakota is the best of any of the U.S. Senate Candidates.”

Wow.

It's important to note that Democrat Rick Weiland is also fully embracing Obamacare, and again, deserves credit for doing so especially in a Republican-leaning state...pushing, in fact, for a public option, which progressives were hoping for in the first place:

SCHULTZ: Rick, do you run on obamacare? do you run on the affordable care act? does that play well in that state?

WEILAND: you know, it’s so interesting. one of my opponents, my likely — well the republican opponent sells insurance. that’s how he’s made his living and i respect him for that. But I came out very early on and i think what’s missing in Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is it’s simply not affordable enough. I think we need to add medicare to obamacare, that will fix it. people should have a choice to buy into medicare or buy private insurance if that’s what they want. i think that will bring down the cost of insurance. these $50 million ceo’s running these health insurance companies that’s just not right. when people can’t afford to buy health insurance. so i think give them a choice, i want to have that debate. i’ve been having medicare town hall meetings since i got into this race 12 months ago and i think that’s where all democrats should be. give people a chance to let people buy in.

I'm a proud, progressive Democrat, and I support Weiland, but in my role as webmaster of ACASignups.net, I also have to give serious kudos to Pressler for his open, unapologetic embrace of the ACA.