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I get a lot of campaign fundraising e-mails from different politicians in support of different candidates.  But I was very happy to received this one from retiring Senator Tim Johnson (D. SD) in support of Rick Weiland's (D. SD) campaign:
It was almost 28 years ago that I announced my candidacy for South Dakota's only seat in the U.S House of Representatives.  One year away from completing my third term in the US Senate, there remains one piece of unfinished business – who will replace me.  
I am proud to support Rick Weiland for Senate
Most pundits believe that former Republican Governor Mike Rounds is a virtual cinch.  Just like my first opponent Dale Bell was in 1986, just as Senator Larry Pressler was in 1996, just as Congressman John Thune was in 2002.  But the pundits were wrong in all three of those races, and I believe they will be wrong in 2014 once again.
I've known Rick Weiland and his family for decades, starting when he was a student at USD, and got to know him better during the fifteen years that he spent working as a top aide to Tom Daschle.  He is smart, hard-working, and perhaps most important, unafraid to take on the powerful special interests that have far too much influence in Washington, D.C.

Support Rick Now:

I believe that folks are ready for a new direction in this country, one that places a much higher priority on addressing the needs of everyday people, rather than the greed of special interests.

Trust me, we can win this race.  We MUST win this race.  And with your help, we will.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.

Tim Johnson

You can click here to donate to Weiland's campaign:

I'm very happy to see Senator Johnson get active in this race.  Haven't written about this race in a while so let me catch you all up to speed.  Weiland might be the underdog in this race but he's hoping his populist message will resonate with voters:

Rick Weiland was trucking along on his tour of more than 300 South Dakota communities Saturday when he stopped in No. 96 — Rapid City — hoping that his populist campaign against big money in politics will pay off.

The Democratic Senate candidate told a couple dozen people who gathered at the Bully Blends coffee shop downtown that the corrupting influence of big money in politics eclipses all other issues.

"Everybody agrees it's broken," Weiland said.

He said big money and special interests are eating away at small family farms and ranches.

"If you look at the farm bill ... 75 percent of our money goes to less than 4 percent of the producers," Weiland said. "We're subsidizing big agriculture to push the little guy out."

Weiland, who is running in 2014 to replace Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, hopes to gain the support of not only Democratic voters, but also independents and what he called "thoughtful" Republicans.

He said he hopes to do that with a theme of campaign finance reform and his proposed constitutional amendment.

Weiland told the crowd that for an average senator to run a re-election campaign, he or she has to begin to raise $10,000 a day starting on the very first day in office.

That, he said, give a lot of influence to contributors.

"If you look at what has happened with Citizens United and the big Super PACs," he said of the Supreme Court decision that opened up campaigns to corporate money, "it absolutely has got a headlock on Congress and their ability to pass good public policy." - Rapid City Journal, 8/18/13

Weiland's also been talking about reforming the tax code because it serves corporations and the wealthy more in their favor.  He also has been expressing his support for the Affordable Health Care Act but believes a public option is still needed to strengthen the health care reform law.  Another populist message he's been pushing is for raising the minimum wage:

A Labor Day picnic at Elmwood Park celebrated the American worker and kicked off a petition drive for an initiated measure to raise the minimum wage.

About 100 people mingled, signed petitions and ate hot dogs at the annual picnic.

Rick Weiland, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, serenaded picnickers with a few songs while the hot dogs cooked.

The South Dakota Democratic Party and its labor partners are circulating petitions for an initiated measure to raise South Dakota’s minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $8.50 plus annual cost of living increases. Petitioners have until Nov. 4 to file 15,855 signatures from registered voters with the secretary of state.

Zach Crago, interim executive director for the South Dakota Democratic party, said gas prices have soared while food, housing and education costs have continued to climb since the minimum wage last was increased in 2009.

“A lot of working moms are holding two jobs. We want to put money in the pocket of workers to build an economy that works for everyone,” Crago said.

If the initiative gets enough support, voters will decide its fate in November 2014. - Argus Leader, 9/2/13

This is good because raising the minimum wage is popular in South Dakota:

South Dakotans have good policy reasons to support raising the minimum wage. But South Dakota Democrats and unions looking to place a minimum-wage increase on the 2014 ballot can't just look at what will happen if we raise the minimum wage; they need to give political consideration to what people think will happen.

Montana's Intelligent Discontent points to a poll from Democratic-leaning Hart Research that says voters must think a minimum-wage hike will do a lot of good. According to Hart's online interviews with 1,010 Americans this month, 80% of Americans would support a proposal to raise the minimum wage not just to the $8.50 the South Dakota initiative proposes, but to $10.10.

Hart doesn't break down the data by state (if their sample was truly representative, they'd have talked to 3 South Dakotans)

Extrapolate the most pessimistic data above to a South Dakota electorate—Republican, white, Midwest-Western—factor in the fact that the Hart poll asks about a 39% increase in the minimum wage, and you see a real possibility that South Dakotans could pass a 17% minimum-wage increase with a majority comparable to the 73% of Montanans who raised their minimum wage in 2006. - Madville Times, 7/28/13
And even though Weiland doesn't see eye to eye with Mike Rounds (R. SD) or any of the other GOP candidates (Larry Rhoden, Annette Boswoarth and Stace Nelson), they all agree on one thing; bombing Syria is a bad idea:

None of the five South Dakotans running for U.S. Senate would vote to authorize the use of force against Syria, but their reasons and preferred alternatives are different.

Democrat Rick Weiland and Republicans Annette Bosworth, Stace Nelson, Larry Rhoden and Mike Rounds all say President Obama hasn’t made the case for an American attack on Syria, and all say they’d vote against the resolution were they in Congress right now.

“What is our objective? What will we consider to be a victory?” Rounds said. “I would be very skeptical of just stepping in and saying, ‘What the heck, we’ll just go in and send a couple of cruise missiles in,’ unless we know what the endgame is.”

Weiland said he, like many, has “grown weary of these international conflicts,” and said he doesn’t want to see the U.S. getting involved in Syria — or at least not without a strong coalition.

“Based on what I know right now, I’m opposed to any unilateral decision by the United States to declare war on Syria,” Weiland said. - Argus Leader, 9/6/13

Right now Rounds is heavily favored to win this race but the Club For Growth, tea Party and Senate Conservatives Fund isn't crazy about him.  They'll have to figure out which of the three other Republican candidates to get behind.  But I still believe this race deserves to be watched and if Senator Johnson is willing to take the time to help Weiland's campaign, we should help him out too.  You can click here to donate to his campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

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

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