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Reid Says Weiland Not His Guy — Brilliant!

Feud-schmeud! (I think that's a farm supply company in Hecla.)

Getting the consultants he hired to put an article about his progressive cred in the Huffington Post is no big deal for the Rick Weiland Senate campaign. Getting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to draw daylight between Washington Democrats and Weiland is:

In a brief interview last week, Reid didn’t hide his frustration with the way the South Dakota race is shaping up.

“We’re going to have a candidate there; we don’t have it yet,” Reid told POLITICO.

When asked whether he would ever back Weiland, Reid was emphatic in his opposition.

“He’s not my choice,” Reid said [John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, "Harry Reid, Tom Daschle Feud over S.D. Senate Seat," Politico, 2013.05.20].

Imagine Weiland lining up the best of both worlds. He tacks left to win the support of the truer blue anti-Blue Dog South Dakota Dems. Yet he gets the power elite in D.C. to poo-poo him, allowing him to tout his independent streak and let less partisan South Dakota voters know that he's their guy, not the creature of some Washington machine. He defuses the predictable GOP attacks that will put his face next to cardboard cut-outs of their national level Tea-Party bogeyDems.

Senator Reid's crankiness is no big deal. If it's real, it's a sign that he's letting some Washington power-game snarkiness cloud his view of the facts on the ground and of any real understanding of what's happening in South Dakota. Weiland may not be Reid's choice, but even if Pat O'Brien goes nuts and enters the race, Weiland is South Dakota Democrats' choice.


  1. UnionCo 2013.05.22

    Reid has been a big disappointment and needs to step down as Majority Leader.

  2. Owen Reitzel 2013.05.22

    Maybe its a good thing for Rick. Reid isn't well liked here in South Dakota and maybe Rick can where that as a badge of honor. Reid has always been shakey.

  3. Kal Lis 2013.05.22

    Like I said in my post at The Displaced Plainsman, I think Cory's right here. Weiland should run against Washington and Reid. Weiland, however, should be making hay over this right now. I haven't seen him do that.

    Also, I see Powers is claiming that following Cory's advice will hurt fundraising. Weiland will need to hold Dascle's feet to the fire to get some national dollars. He'll have to guilt trip Tim Johnson to get some of that $1.2 million in that war chest. After all Reid strong armed the Johnsons as well.

    Finally, Reid is going to have to decide whether he wants to be Minority Leader Reid or Majority Leader Reid. If the latter, he's going to have to come through with cash even if Weiland is "not his candidate."

  4. Bree S. 2013.05.22

    I don't think you guys should have thumbed your nose at the National Democrats that know what they're doing. Even though one part of me wants to win both seats, another part of me believes strongly in a two party system. I know you're very smart Cory but I don't know why you can't see that Stephanie actually had a chance of winning.

  5. Rick 2013.05.22

    Um, let me check my watch. It's May 22, 2013. The general election doesn't officially start until the June 3, 2014, primary ends. Weiland says he's running to make Congress work again. Right now, it's broken and one of the leaders (Harry Reid) who helped break it says Rick Weiland's not his candidate. Looks like Weiland is in a strong position for being more than a year before the general election officially opens, and a year and a half before Election Day 2014.

    You're now watching the Republican talking heads get nervous and work hard to damage Weiland's cerdibility while they're awaiting a nasty primary between ex-Governor Rounds and incumbent Congresswoman Noem. They don't have much to work with to attack Weiland, so you can expect more of their fantasies and fear mongering.

    Keep calm and your powder dry.

  6. Rorschach 2013.05.22

    I think Reid has a right to be cranky. Reid knows that Stephanie would have been the strongest candidate against Rounds. Heck, everyone knows that. It's obvious there is a power game going on, but Reid's not behind it.

    Let's start with the premise that everyone has the right to run if they want to, Rick Weiland included. Stephanie may have been on the fence about running. But there has clearly been a coordinated effort to push her to decide against a run. This coordinated effort including the Draft Brendan campaign and Tom Daschle wanted to have Stephanie make her decision on running based upon the certainty of a contentious primary with Tom Daschle backing her opponent.

    The combination of 1. Rick Weiland entering the race apparently without talking to Stephanie; 2. The not-so-grassroots Draft Brendan campaign immediately pivoting to support Weiland before Stephanie's announcement; and 3. Tom Daschle immediately supporting Weiland; This together sent a message to Stephanie about as subtle as a horsehead in her bed.

    It's pretty clear that Tom Daschle worked at cross purposes with the DSCC and didn't talk to his good friend Sen. Reid, and Reid is merely showing some justifiable frustration. If Weiland puts his all into this race and Tom Daschle harnesses his considerable fundraising network for Weiland, the fence will mend. If Weiland runs as a sacrificial lamb, or doesn't run at all, then the net result will be that they chased the best candidate out of the race and gave the seat to a Republican.

  7. Douglas Wiken 2013.05.22

    The report in the Mitchell paper suggests this may be a tempest in a teapot and exaggerated by Politico.

    Probably 99% of SD voters won't remember this in 2 weeks let alone in nearly two years.

    I haven't noticed anybody out this way shedding tears, real or crocodile, for Stephanie not running.

  8. Winston 2013.05.22

    If you can find me a poll that shows Weiland beating Rounds, or within range of Rounds, then your analysis could be correct, else it is merely an academic argument...

  9. Bree S. 2013.05.22

    I gotta tell ya Rick, you should hire someone to do your spin for you, because you are plain awful at it.

  10. mike 2013.05.22

    Ryan Casey is the worst thing to happen to the SDDP since Republicans. Stephanie is the only candidate the Dems have.

  11. mike 2013.05.22

    Harry Ried might as well call Mike Rounds today just to practice saying Senator Rounds so he is used to it in 2015. Rounds has this election in the bag - Does he ever have to run a tough race?

  12. Rick 2013.05.22

    Hmmm. So, if Rick Weiland is no threat, why did the Rounds campaign pull Dick Wad hams out of near retirement? To knock Kristi out of the primary or to defeat the Daschle/Johnson machine in the fall? Considering that Rounds hasn't been raising the kind of money expected from a well known ex-governor in a U.S. Senate race, the campaign grabbed the dynamite instead of a firecracker to win the seat.

  13. Bree S. 2013.05.22

    Same goes for you, mike.

  14. Kal Lis 2013.05.22

    I don't have my political consultant trading cards with me, so I can't double check Wadhams’s record, but I seem to remember Wadhams as a Karl Rove protégé. Rove has been busy trying to head off tea party challenges. Rounds may well want to do the same especially since the Senate Conservatives Fund is dangling money in front of challengers.
    Waldhams also has something of a rep as a fundraiser, and Rounds didn’t have a good quarter based on the last reports.
    Finally, we may disagree about whether Weiland is a quality candidate. I agree that he has some time to prove himself. That being said, his record indicates that he’s no Tom Daschle. If Wadhams helped Thune beat Daschle, it would make sense for Thune-lite to hire him to help defeat Daschle-lite.

  15. David Newquist 2013.05.22

    First of all, Pat Powers is a shill with megaphone for the South Dakota GOP. That was true when he took his blog down to go destroy the Secretary of State's Office, and resuming that role is his only claim to consequence. The GOP wants to damage and destroy anyone who runs against their candidate, so the denigrations and defamations were mounted against Brendan Johnson and now have been transferred to Rick Weiland. They castigate that which they fear the most.

    The Politico article is so laden with unnamed sources, speculations and conjectures, that it is an embarrassment to read as journalism. It is playing to angry conflict to entertain those who thrive on such things, but it is doubtful that Reid and Daschle, given their relationship, would be feuding. More likely, they might need to do some conferring other than in passing.

    If Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is to consider a run for federal office again, she will have to do a lot of work with her Democratic base regarding her votes on healthcare, financial regulations, environment, and a number of other matters that stand out in her record. It seems a bit preposterous that the DSCC would gloss over it.

    The significant quotation from Rick Weiland is, "you don’t have to run so hard to the right of center to win this race. … You run a Republican against a Republican, you’re going to elect a Republican.”

    If the legislative records are to be the issue in this race as they should be and most likely will be with Rick Weiland in the running, the performances of John Thune and Kristi Noem will be as much under question as those of the candidates for the office at issue. There is a lot of bumbling and incompetence that accrues to the South Dakota GOP, and voters will get a chance to review it. Whoever wins, the state will have to confront a moment of truth.

  16. Kal Lis 2013.05.22

    I want to try to suss out the actual points of agreement and disagreement in this thread because it seems most of us are agreeing disagreeably.

    First, it seems most here prefer to hear a Rounds concession speech in 2014. (This, of course, assumes he's the GOP nominee.)

    Second, most seem to believe that Powers is wrong about the finances. I probably should have phrased my earlier comments a bit better, but Weiland should be able to raise the necessary money.

    Third, even if the Politico story is poorly sourced, it seems most agree Reid and Daschle should have communicated better. Reid also might have been well served to talk with more South Dakotans.

    The biggest disagreement seems to be whether Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was pushed out of the race and whether those actions were beneficial. A blog thread isn't going to solve that disagreement, so I am just going to move on.

    The other major disagreement seems to be whether Weiland is missing an opportunity by not using this incident as a chance to run against Washington. Given how Noem used Nancy Pelosi as an anchor around Herseth Sandlin's neck and how Republicans have made tying candidates to bogeymen versions of Democratic Congressional leaders standard operating procedure, it would seem prudent for Weiland to do everything he can to take that cudgel out of their hands as soon as possible. What am I missing?

  17. Bree S. 2013.05.22

    I think Daschle should go play golf somewhere.

  18. Rick 2013.05.22

    Kal, we are in full agreement, especially with the last paragraph. South Dakotans don't like it when big shots from other parts of the nation tell us who we should or should not elect. Telling Reid to buzz off fits very handily in one of Weiland's key themes, "Washington's broken." This softball will disappear quickly if he doesn't choose to knock it out of the park.

    My concern is with Democrats getting lost in the weeds over all this and Republicans being enabled by South Dakota and D.C. reporters to ruin Weiland's opportunity to win this election. Montgomery is as bad as any of the D.C. hatchet handlers, just more transparent.

  19. Judy Judy 2013.05.22

    Reading the comments, Rorschach seems the most on point to me. And the most telling aspect of this internal Democratic maneuvering is that it appears to be almost entirely about the preferences of Washington, DC insiders. In this game, local and state Democrats are bench-warmers at best. (Sorry Ryan Casey, most informed people know you were a shill for the Johnson team.) I wonder if it was this way when McGovern, Abourezk, and Denholm decided to run for the House, when Grandpa or Pa Herseth and Kneip decided to run for Governor, or when McGovern and Abourezk first ran for the Senate? I suspect not but I am just asking.

  20. Rick 2013.05.22

    Never heard of Tom playing golf. He's a strong runner, but I'd bet he doesn't have the patience for 18 holes.

  21. Joe 2013.05.22

    Reid is upset, because he knows as well as anyone who understands the game of politics that SHS is a far better candidate then anyone else in the state. Now that is not to say that she fits the ideal democrats political vision the best, but she does poll well, she has great name recognition and is a good candidate.

    Rick isn't a good candidate, especially for Senator. He's lost twice, he has little to no name recognition, is pretty liberal and is a career political insider. It just doesn't sell to many. Add in how he has acted as being the liberal voice of the party and I could run as a republican and beat him.

    People can say what they want about moderate democrats but they vote for Harry Reid which is more important than any other vote in the Senate.

  22. mike 2013.05.22

    Joe is right.

  23. Charlie Johnson 2013.05.22

    Not having a candidate who stands up for the "average Joe" is wrong. Absence of a candidate who will fight for what is right signals that it was time for a person like Rick Weiland to run. Rick will be a voice for the everyday, grind it out, I have nothing to lose but everything to give South Dakotan!! Perhaps there are others out there also. Let them all run for office.

  24. Anne 2013.05.22

    Some of these comments seem to be preaching the War College gospel.
    And it sounds like some are urging SHS to change parties.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.23

    Bree, I recognize very well the strength SHS has as a candidate. I understand that her record and recognition make her an easy first choice for those watching from afar. But she says she's out.

    I also understand that SD Dems can't win without reinforcement from outside the state. If Reid doesn't want to marshal his forces in support, we'll just have to turn to other progressive Dems who will. If Weiland steps out and proves himself as a campaigner, we'll be able to find those Dems.

  26. G-Man 2013.05.23

    Weiland is NOT going to win. After this, the SDDP will have all the time in the world to rethink, research, and REBUILD, starting with the LOCAL districts in East River. Dems: you better dust-off the old "McGovern Books," because you have alot of studying and hard work to do for many years just as George had to do it without the technology of today...

  27. G-Man 2013.05.23

    Remember, this is the Weiland who lost to Thune in 1996.

  28. G-Man 2013.05.23

    In fact, Thune creamed Weiland in the '96 House Race and it wasn't that difficult.

  29. G-Man 2013.05.23

    Joe, you hit another nail straight on the head when it comes to this Weiland. I supported John Thune in his '96 race against Rick because at the time, I thought Weiland was "too liberal." If Rick is still that liberal, I wouldn't support him today. Rick's going to have a problem gaining support from moderate Independents and you need them for sure.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.25

    G-Man, that's at least the historical analysis that matters. The fact that Weiland lost two previous races does not mean he can't win his third. Why he lost your vote makes more sense of that contention.

    I'm still willing to say we can do a better job of flying the liberal Democrat flag and can win doing so. But we need to hear Weiland explain to South Dakotans why what we hear casually dismissed as "too liberal" views are actually views that better realize and defend South Dakota values than the GOP's corporate cronyism.

  31. G-Man 2013.05.25

    Cory, I agree that the Republicans are too conservative these days. However, the Democrats can get too liberal for my views. Once again, it's the moderate Independents, like myself, that make or brake campaigns. You need to find a candidate that is not extreme.

Comments are closed.