March 31st, 2010
06:55 PM ET
13 years ago

House Democrat avoids a primary ... again

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has avoided a primary challenger for the second time."](CNN) – Last week, all systems were go for Kevin Weiland to challenge fellow South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary.

He put out a statement about his intentions and even launched a campaign Web site. But on Wednesday, Weilend decided to forgo a campaign to unseat the congresswoman.

It was the second time this month that Herseth Sandlin has avoided a primary challenger motivated, in part, by her opposition to President Obama's health care reform efforts.

Steve Hildebrand, a top campaign strategist for Obama, was the first person to threaten a challenge. He decided against it after the health care legislation was approved by Congress, and Hildebrand endorsed Weiland's challenge to Herseth Sandlin.

But Weiland said in a new joint statement with Herseth Sandlin that he has decided to endorse the congresswoman after receiving her word that she will not back the Republican call for repeal of the health care bill.

"After a great deal of thought and consideration, I have decided today not to run for Congress, both because of my concern for what the net effect would be on our political party retaining the seat in the next Congress, but also after receiving assurances from Stephanie that she will not vote to repeal the recently-passed health care reform law, however will work to make it better," Weiland, a doctor, wrote in a message posted on his Web site.

As for Herseth Sandlin, she noted that despite her opposition to the health care reform bill, it "does include a number of good provisions that I support." The congresswoman also said she would work with Weiland to improve health care in the state.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. marc in california

    I suppose Democrats can breath a sigh of relief here

    March 31, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. A.B.

    For goodness sake!! there must be someone out there in the Democratic Party who has the guts to challange and defeat Sandlin!! This woman voted against Obama's healhcare initiative and must be defeated. Prehaps a progressive candidate who is an independent or one from a progressive political party such as the Green Party might be up for the job.

    March 31, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. CMG

    Stephanie has had plenty of opportunities in the past to improve health care in South Dakota. Where has she been hiding? Maybe her Republican colleagues know....

    March 31, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. cspurgeon

    Cmon guys we need some dems to take her on and beat her out. We don't need Faux Dems in the party. Someone centrist will do.

    March 31, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. German, Irish American

    This is getting funny. First, Hildebrand, who Obama calls his secret weapon, THREATENS Herseth-Sandlin that he will run against her if she doesn't vote for the health-care bill. He then backs down and pressures Weiland to run against her. Then they both back down when new polls show Herseth-Sandlin, who won with over 60% in her previous elections, is in a virtual dead heat with Chris Nelson who is running in the Republican primary. They finally figured out that if there was a Democrat primary, with the participants expressing their liberal views, it would hand the Republican candidate the election on a silver platter.

    March 31, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |