Press "Enter" to skip to content

“Mayday! Mayday!” Shouts Rounds As Weiland Gets Million Bucks from Lessig PAC

Three months ago, my co-blogger Toby Uecker suggested that the Mayday PAC would be a perfect fit for Democrat Rick Weiland's Senate campaign. Weiland is the perfect populist running against Republican Mike Rounds's big money policies and fundraising. South Dakota adds diversity to the districts where Mayday PAC founder Lawrence Lessig can test his many-small-donors strategy. And a Weiland victory over Rounds would be surprising, newsworthy, and easily dispositive of the efficacy of Mayday PAC's intervention.

Professor Lessig may have been listening. Mr. Montgomery reports that Mayday PAC is investing a million dollars in Weiland and working to bring more to his aid:

"Like the rest of us, South Dakotans are tired of seeing Congress crippled by its dependence on campaign cash and the cronies who supply it," said Mayday PAC co-founder Mark McKinnon in a news release. "The only way to take our democracy back is to elect reformers like Rick Weiland."

The group also will work with other pro-Weiland outside groups to spend up to another million helping Weiland and bashing Republican nominee Mike Rounds — a total of $2 million on Weiland's behalf [David Montgomery, "PAC to Spend $1 Million for Big-Money Foe," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.07].

Mayday PAC is spending its money on this mostly shining happy ad (marked as unlisted on YouTube but embedded on the Washington Post article on Mayday PAC's Weiland push)...

...the effectiveness of which national political guru Larry Sabato quickly dismisses:

"If this were a different kind of race, ($2 million) might make the difference," Sabato said. "It's a lot of money, but what can you say? South Dakotans don't seem to me the kind to be overly influenced by TV ads and the like. It's such a personal form of campaigning there" [Montgomery, 2014.10.07].

That Sioux Falls paper devotes most of its below-the-fold text to such dismissal, to letting naysayers emphasize Weiland's "hypocrisy" in accepting this big-money intervention, and to letting Team Rounds try to sound like the poor underdog, having to "spend every dime" to fight these dastardly outside attacks... the like of which Team Rounds is surely fishing for right now from conservative groups.

But consider this, friends: contrary to the opposition's spin (and Harry Reid's own petty blindness) that Rick Weiland is somehow an awful candidate, the really smart and dare-I-posit decent people at Mayday PAC are saying Rick Weiland is worth a million dollars and then some. Mayday PAC is saying Rick Weiland not only should win but can win.

It galls me that we have to get big money to beat big money, just as it galls me that we have to use force to defeat force. But sometimes you've got to fight back... especially when the fight is winnable against a failing Republican whose hopes of another easy coronation have disappeared and who appears ill-equipped for a real battle. Thank you, Mayday PAC, for choosing the right side and the right candidate.


  1. toclayco 2014.10.07

    What Montgomery fails to note as the emphasis is placed on the Rounds' camp whining, is that Mayday is cofounded by Mark McKinnon, a former Bush advisor, is crowd-funded and is donor-transparent, unlike ANY of the Koch-inspired corporatist PACs out there. And Mayday exists to put itself out of business - a concept enough to make the average corporate-worshipping Republican's head explode.

  2. Taunia 2014.10.07

    Sabato is probably correct on the advertising. Perhaps the million would be better spent giving Howied $250K and Pressler $750K to drop out.

    Still, pretty exciting news.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.07

    Excellent point, Toclayco. Lessig's PAC isn't your typical PAC.

    Taunia, if anyone has money to throw around for behind-the-scenes games, they should give Howie that money to advertise more, not less. He'd peel away conservative votes and scare Indies all the way to other other end of the dial... our end!

    As for buying Pressler out of the race... nah, I can't bring myself to advocate it. He wouldn't take money from fake sheiks, so he wouldn't take our money, right? :-) If we have the money, it will be better spent straight-up boosting Rick to the top of the four-man race.

  4. 96Tears 2014.10.07

    The Rounds scribe at the Argus knows where to get his poisonous quotes to knock down the Democrat in this race, but he has an incapability to give any weight to information that balances out all that poison. Is there a job waiting for David after the campaign? Sure looks like it to me.

  5. lesliengland 2014.10.07

    YES! troy, stan and marion's millions are sitting up now. MSNBC/Madville times will drive in the EB5 spike. happy halloween

  6. Chris S. 2014.10.07

    Phony concern over this type of non-"hypocrisy" drives me nuts. The people who pretend to be concerned about it are full of $#*!. It's the same sort of false equivalence that says you can't advocate for policies that help the working poor unless you're living in poverty yourself, or that you can't argue for energy conservation unless you live in a yurt and don't use electricity. Yes, if you think money in politics is a problem, you should refuse to take any money at all for your campaign... thus guaranteeing a loss, so the status quo remains unchanged. Wait, what?

    It's mendacious and stupid, yet too many Very Serious Journalists use that formula because damn, it's so easy. You don't have to work or even think, and presto! you've got your column written. As a bonus, you get to make your "Gotcha!" point, then recline smugly in your easy chair and feel oh-so-superior. Blech.

  7. 96Tears 2014.10.07

    You're right, Chris. It's better than having to think or be objective. David Montgomery and his mentors in the Rounds Machine wouldn't be happy until Rick Weiland surrenders himself and personally endorses Rounds, despite the rampant criminality of Rounds' regime. David and his pal Jon have preached the Rounds Narrative for the last couple years and they're only going to double down on the narrative going into the last month of the election.

  8. Don Coyote 2014.10.07

    I find it more ironic than hypocritical. It's really not much different than advocating for privatization of Social Security but still taking the benefits. Or taking Federal funds while advocating for greater local autonomy. Or objecting to Medicare funds being used to pay for Obamacare and still receiving benefits. It's the nature of the beast and MayDay is just playing by the rules of the game. I don't think it's gonna do Weiland much good since Pressler has pretty much split the anti-Rounds vote. All the low hanging fruit has been pretty much plucked from that tree.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.07

    If you recall, Rick wanted to sit down with Rounds early in the campaign and put a cap of spending, Rounds responded with, I have $9 million to beat you.
    Rick's response was, I'm not going to stand here with my hands tied behind my back, and he hasn't.
    Whining by Rounds and Powers is just that, whining.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.07

    Mayday's Lawrence Lessig says that EB-5 got his group to spend money on South Dakota:

    In an interview, Mr. Lessig said that his group had wanted to get involved in the South Dakota race for some time but that initial polls suggested that voters positions had generally solidified. But he said that his group did some polling after the Every Voice ad buys and concluded that South Dakota voters were upset about the investment-for-green-card program and that Mr. Weiland might be able to win after all. He said that while Mr. Rounds’s two key rivals were talking about the green-card issue, Mr. Rounds was avoiding it.

    “We did polling and found this issue was very important to South Dakota voters and we could see a path to victory,” Mr. Lessig said [Siobahn Hughes, "Crowd Funding Lifts Democrat Weiland in South Dakota," WSJ: Washington Wire, 2014.10.07].

    In other words, people picking up on the issue I've been doggedly reporting since Richard Benda died has made a big difference in this race.

  11. JeniW 2014.10.07

    Thank you Cory, you deserve a lot of credit. You will not likely be recognized for that your hang tough, but I want you to know that I appreciate you!

  12. Taunia 2014.10.07

    Amazingly good work, Cory. Your blog has had a substantial impact on the narrative and where South Dakota is headed.

    Ring the tip jar, kids. Like all of South Dakota's children, Cory's kid needs shoes and a brighter future.

  13. Jana 2014.10.07

    pssst...hey media.

    There's a big difference between the funding for Mike's ads and Rick's ad funding.

    Mike has aggressively sought out his funding and Rick's were based on what he represents.

    Let's review false equivalency and false balance in reporting:

    "False equivalence is occasionally claimed in politics, where one political party will accuse their opponents of having performed equally wrong actions.[1] Commentators may also accuse journalists of false equivalence in their reporting of political controversies if the stories are perceived to assign equal blame to multiple parties.[2] It should not be confused with false balance – the media phenomenon of presenting two sides of an argument equally in disregard of the merit or evidence on a subject."

  14. Jane Smith 2014.10.07

    "United we stand, divided we fall." Now is not the time to be second guessing.

Comments are closed.