I've never been much of a fan of that perennial scold Mike Huckabee, but it's obvious he's got a decent-sized following in the Republican community. Huckabee brought the full weight of his support for Mike Rounds to South Dakota a couple of days ago, returning the favor that Rounds, when he was SD's governor, did for him during the '08 election cycle when Huckabee ran for the GOP Prez slot. Rounds was on the Huckabee bandwagon early on and stuck with it even as the morality-themed campaign came apart. Huckabee subsequently found work hosting a show on Fox News, where he remains a fixture, giving him just enough star-power to attract plenty of attention to the Rounds campaign and get a few people's minds off Slaughterhouse EB-5 for the space of a couple of hours.
The standard political dog-and-pony show gave the Rounds campaign some great face time on SD media, which should jog some Democrats into wondering why on earth they can't get some of their own star power into action around here. The Senate race has tightened up to the point where every little bit of attention can make a serious difference, and now that the Rounds camp has had its moment in the star-shine, Dems could use an offsetting event to even things up a bit. I've already gotten on Tom Daschle's case about his disappearing act now that his one-time employee Rick Weiland has the election within his grasp. Considering that Weiland worked for Daschle's first campaign for Congress back in '78, which Daschle won in a squeaker, a brief appearance by the former Senator and congressional party leader would make for a nice acknowledgement, if not a de facto thank you. As a practical political matter, it would also get tons of media exposure and might even help galvanize some ground support for Weiland's final push in this contest.
Same thing goes for retiring Senator Tim Johnson, whose seat is the object of this race. Though the star-power quotient for Johnson is nothing like Daschle's or Huckabee's, the long time Democratic Congressman, whose career in the U.S. House and Senate spans decades, seems disquietingly reticent about entering the fray. Given that on a national scale it looks like a stops-out effort by both parties to get control of the Senate, Johnson's observation post on the sidelines seems lacking in concern about his party's fortunes. The only clear mention of Johnson's support I've seen comes from Weiland's facebook page, from way back in May, 2013: "Rick Weiland has a good opportunity and I've encouraged him to run," said Johnson. A few days ago on a trip into Rapid City Johnson said, "of course I'm in favor of Rick Weiland, but they're all good candidates and I'll stay away from the politics." Johnson has certainly earned the right to go into terminal tepidity, but I know people who worked like the dickens--me included, via my family--to get him re-elected a couple of times that are very disappointed by his lack of enthusiasm for the Weiland campaign.
Dems in South Dakota could use a few elder statesmen to speak out. Why their reluctance to do so?