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Rick Weiland is MY choice. Because he is right on the issues that matter to me as a progressive. Because I believe a candidate who stands for this:

Rick Weiland will fight with the President to preserve our hard won access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions.   He stands with small business and ordinary South Dakota families in our fight to take government back from millionaire political donors and huge special interests.  And he is a lifetime fighter for a woman’s right to choose, and for equal opportunity and equal pay in the workplace.
- (from Daschle's endorsement.)

CAN win. Most importantly, because unlike Harry Reid, I am a SD voter and I get to decide, not him. Not the DSCC.

Politico is reporting that Harry Reid is not amused with how the US Senate race for retiring three-term Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson's seat is turning out.  

Like many others, he wanted blue dog Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to run. And according to this article, he even met with Sen. Johnson and his wife to ask them to discourage their son Brendan, the US Attorney for SD and the focus of a progressive draft effort, from running. Like many others, he is acting on a poll that showed Sandlin as the only Democratic candidate who could win. SD is a red state, we are reminded. Voters will never accept a more liberal candidate. This is the best we can do. Except...

The assumption that there might be a divisive primary between Brendan Johnson and Herseth Sandlin ended unexpectedly. After speaking to Brendan Johnson and learning that he would not run, former Daschle staffer Rick Weiland announced his candidacy. Herseth Sandlin recently announced that she will not run for the Senate, citing her commitment to her new employer and her son's starting kindergarten this fall.  Or, says Politico, because of Daschle.

Daschle’s endorsement of Weiland helped persuade Herseth Sandlin to pass on the Senate race, according to Democratic sources close to the issue. Reid and top Senate Democrats were stunned and outraged by Daschle’s move, a sentiment Reid communicated directly to the former senator, according to several people familiar with the incident.

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.

But he is the choice for SD progressives who agree that conventional wisdom is wrong.

Herseth Sandlin has a name legendary in SD politics. Her conservatism is designed to appeal to red-state voters. But South Dakotans know that if the majority Republican voters in the state have a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat acting like a Republican, they will vote for the real Republican. And that is what happened when Herseth Sandlin lost her seat to an inexperienced, uninformed Tea Party candidate in 2010.  

just look at SD politics: compare Herseth Sandlin’s defeat in 2010 to the last time Tim Johnson had a tough race (running against John Thune, who beat Daschle 2 years later) in a very Republican year where most other Democratic Senate candidates in close races lost, 2002. Johnson ran by being an economic populist and maximizing turnout on Indian reservations and other Democratic areas, and he beat an incredibly tough opponent. Herseth Sandlin, running against a weaker opponent, tacked as far right as she could, including endorsing all the Bush tax cuts right before the election. The result: turnout was way down in Democratic precincts in the state, and an independent candidate got 6% of the vote, the vast majority of it from disaffected Democrats.
For decades progressive SD Democrats have been told to take what they can get and not complain. We have lined up and supported candidates who have stood quietly by when our issues needed to be spoken about. Candidates who turned around and voted against our issues because... it's a red state and they had to vote that way. But times change and voters have evolved on social issues. You can stand up for marriage equality and win in SD. You can be pro-choice (like the majority of South Dakotans) and win in SD. The most important thing a candidate needs to do is speak to the issues that matter to most voters.

DK's  Anna Madsen:

The second movement follows: once we focus on who we are, we confidently share that news with other South Dakotans.

The Democratic Platform has policies which benefit workers, seniors, farmers, women, children, people with disabilities, small business owners, and people who get sick.  

In short, we place our energy toward helping the vulnerable and the hard-working lower- and middle-classes, rather than protecting the already well-fortified aristocrats.

That should resonate here, where eyebrows get raised when stuffy suits and ties come walking into the corner cafe be-seated by folks with farmers' tans and well-worn blue jeans.

If you are interested in this race, learn more at SD Kos where contributors include poopdogcomedy with an amazing series of extensively researched diaries on this race.

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Donate here to keep a Senate seat in Democratic hands -progressive Democratic hands -

Originally posted to meralda on Tue May 21, 2013 at 01:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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