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Well here's some good news for U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D. SD):

Four current and former Democratic senators from the Dakotas are set to raise money for Rick Weiland’s campaign — a strong indication of Weiland’s institutional support in his uphill campaign.
On Wednesday night, Sen. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and former senators Tom Daschle (S.D.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) will host a fundraiser for Weiland’s Senate campaign, Post Politics has learned.
“These four men have collectively won, by my count, 23 statewide races in the Dakotas,” said Jim Jordan, a Weiland ally and former executive director of the DSCC. “Better than anyone anywhere, they understand what it takes to win there in terms of talent, character, and message. So it’s a very big deal that they’re coming together to say that they think Rick Weiland has the right stuff for this race.” - Washington Post, 7/23/13
Here's the flyer for the event:
As you can see from the flyer, Senators Tim Kaine (D. VA), Bob Menendez (D. NJ), Jeff Merkley (D. OR), Amy Klobuchar (D. MN) and Claire McCaskill (D. MO) will also be attending the fundraiser for Weiland.  This has to be a sign that Senate Democrats are starting to take Weiland seriously as a candidate.  

More below the fold.

Weiland was not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D. NV) ideal candidate.  Senate Democrats were hoping former Blue Dog Whip Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D. SD-AL) would jump in but she passed on the race.  Weiland is heavily focusing his campaign on reversing the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United and making campaign finance reform a top priority:

“I’ve never seen Washington so goofed up,” he said of why he decided to run for office. “There’s so much big money driving a lot of decisions out there or getting in the way of dealing with some of the problems this country has.”

Weiland said South Dakotans need a leader who will stand up to special interests if those interests aren’t shared by Americans.

“We’ve got a Congress that’s more interested in taking care of billionaires and big corporations than they are the American people,” he said. “Just talking about it and taking it on and exposing it for what it is is the beginning of that effort … to take our country back. I’m not afraid to do it.” - Dell Rapids Tribune, 7/23/13

Weiland is considered an underdog in this race and some people have wanted to write this race off completely.  Especially with former Governor Mike Rounds (R. SD) running for Johnson's seat, who has vowed to raise $9 million dollars for his campaign.  It sounds like Weiland is taking a prairie populist direction with his Senate campaign:

One of our greatest exports has been our kids. Creating more opportunity for the next generation to be able to stay here and find good jobs and be productive – that always concerns me when we export our young people out of South Dakota.

I also think agriculture, which is on the up right now, is really still our life blood in South Dakota, and we need to make sure that we’ve got a farm bill that works for our producers here and that’s not co-opted by big ag, which I think has a real tendency to have its way in Washington D.C. Nothing has really changed, in my perspective, on family farms. I think South Dakota needs a really strong voice in Washington there protecting our agricultural base. - Rick Weiland (D. SD), Dell Rapids Tribune, 7/23/13

Not to mention Weiland's been out on a 100 town hall meeting tour all over South Dakota so the voters will get to know him more.  Meanwhile on the Republican side, the primary is started to get crowded.  State Senator Larry Rhoden (R. SD) was the first conservative challenger to jump in and challenge Rounds for the nominee:

Larry Rhoden, a state senator from Meade County, formally announced his candidacy Wednesday morning at Falls Park. He emphasized his West River conservatism, vying for Republican voters who say former governor Mike Rounds isn’t far enough to the right.

“I have listened to South Dakotans very carefully about this Senate race,” Rhoden said in his announcement. “We want someone who will fight for our conservative principles and our constitutional freedoms.”

In his speech, Rhoden assailed “career politicians,” “activist judges” and an “amnesty bill” for immigrants, and said President Obama has “veered our country away from the free market system.”

He — and not Rounds — is the right person to “break the mold” and help fix the country, Rhoden said. - Argus Leader, 7/11/13
Then Dr. Annette Bosworth (R. SD) jumped in:

Dr. Annette Bosworth has talked about her interest in running for the United State Senate since last month. And on Tuesday, at her family farm in Plankinton, she made it official.

Bosworth will now take on former governor Mike Rounds and state senator Larry Rhoden for the Republican nomination. Rick Weiland is the only Democrat in the race, so far.

41-year-old Bosworth paints herself as a Generation Xer, who can go to Washington DC, make policy changes and bring a fresh look on things. She considers herself a pioneer, just like her forefathers who settled on her family farm in Plankinton, South Dakota. - Keloland, 7/16/13

And the GOP primary might have another candidate in State Rep. Stace Nelson (R. SD) jumping in soon:

Nelson, the sometimes polarizing but always passionate conservative lawmaker is considering a challenge of prohibitive Republican race favorite, former Governor, Mike Rounds in the GOP Primary.  

Nelson who is quick to point out that he owns a Flex-fueled Ford F-150 pickup is traveling the state in his wife's more fuel efficient Ford Focus to save money.  He says the contrast with Rounds' high dollar and well-monied campaign is obvious.  Rounds at one point predicted that the winner of the 2014 U.S. Senate race might have to spend as much as $9-million.  

"I'm a blue-collar, country boy from rural South Dakota," Nelson said.  "I don't have friends with that kind of money.  But what I can promise South Dakotans is that if they choose to send me to Washington, I will be someone of integrity, I will work hard to make sure their interests are protected and I will not be someone who is subverted by special interests." - News Center 1, 7/22/13

If you've noticed that all three GOP challengers are trying to take Weiland's approach and paint themselves as the candidates who don't rely on outside campaign cash or Super PACs like Rounds does.  It's unclear how this crowded primary will affect Rounds chances of securing the nominee so we will have to see which one of them gains the most traction.  Plus Rhode, Bosworth and potentially Nelson could all audition to be the Senate Conservative Fund and Club For Growth's ideal candidate.  

I would say it's fair to have this race in the Leans Republican category.  But Weiland is a Democrat I support and a race that I think deserves to be watched.  I know we have a tough road ahead of us here but I refuse to write it.  Plus to see both past and current Senators, including Johnson himself, come out to fundraise for Weiland is a good sign.  If you want to donate or get involved with Weiland's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 04:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Native American Netroots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meralda, stevenaxelrod

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 04:58:18 PM PDT

  •  I agree that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, stevenaxelrod

    this race isn't over and predict that it could be more competitive than conventional wisdom holds.

    A lot depends on how the Republican primary plays out. The likely negativity on the R side, besides putting a dent in Round's proposed $9 million budget, could turn off a lot of voters. That worked for Rounds in the past when he came from third to win the nomination for governor by being nice in a nasty primary. Indications are that he probably won't be so nice this time.

    Meanwhile Weiland is crossing the state,meeting voters in every town and asking for small ($9) donations. It's a strategy that has been successful for other Democrats like  McGovern, Daschle, and Tim Johnson in this red state.

    Looking forward to future diaries on this race.

    Never separate the life you live from the words you speak - Paul Wellstone

    by meralda on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 06:06:05 PM PDT

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