Democrats plan last minute ad blitz in South Dakota

With less than a month until election day, Democrats plan to put $1 million behind Rick Weiland, running for South Dakota's open Senate seat. Weiland faces a tough race against former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds.

Elisha Page/Argus Leader/AP
Rick Weiland speaks while debating US Senate candidates Mike Rounds, Larry Pressler, and Gordon Howie at Dakotafest in Mitchell, S.D., Aug 20.

National Democrats plan to drop $1 million behind their candidate for South Dakota's open Senate seat, for the first time signaling that political operatives consider the race winnable and part of their drive to defend the Senate majority.

The investment from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will primarily go to television advertising for Democratic hopeful Rick Weiland, who is in a tough race against former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson. Running as an independent is former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler.

Republicans are driving to gain six seats and the Senate majority. Rounds has been considered a favorite in the contest.

A businessman and onetime aide to former Sen. Tom Daschle, Weiland was not the national committee's preferred candidate in the race; they tried to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. But Weiland and Pressler have both stayed competitive, benefiting from Rounds' recent struggles and the complex, multicandidate race.

Rounds has come under scrutiny for a state-run federal program that let foreign investors earn green cards in exchange for investments in rural job-creating projects. The South Dakota Board of Regents announced Tuesday that a 2008 lawsuit brought against South Dakota related to the embattled EB-5 visa program has been dismissed and the state would not be liable for potentially millions in damages.

Democrats have sought to make the EB-5 program a political issue, accusing a Rounds appointee of costing the state money by dragging it into litigation. The lawsuit began while Rounds was serving as governor. Rounds' knowledge about the lawsuit has become an issue in the Senate campaign. He has said he was not personally aware of the lawsuit when it was filed, but Democrats have said he must have known.

Mayday PAC, a political action committee, said earlier this week it would spend another $1 million to back Weiland with TV ads.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Democrats plan last minute ad blitz in South Dakota
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today