Democratic candidate doesn't want Harry Reid in charge

South Dakota race has songs and poetry
South Dakota race has songs and poetry

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  • Weiland said he would vote against Reid for the party's leadership
  • The statement comes after Reid reportedly opposed Weiland's candidacy
South Dakota Democratic candidate Rick Weiland was glad when his party's Senate campaign arm injected $1 million into his race, but that didn't keep him from pledging to oppose the party's leader in the chamber.
Weiland said Thursday during a televised debate that he would vote against prolonging Sen. Harry Reid's tenure as the Democratic Leader, and challenged his Republican opponent Gov. Mike Rounds to pledge to oppose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as the Republican leader.
"Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have given us the most dysfunctional government in a generation and they need to step aside," Weiland said.
Weiland's pledge to oppose his party's leader in the Senate doesn't come as much of a surprise to those following the race.
Behind the scenes, Reid not-so-quietly opposed Weiland's bid to be the party's nominee in South Dakota, which set off a feud between Reid and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who backed Weiland's bid.
But Weiland framed his opposition in anti-Washington terms, calling Washington "broken" and both parties "beholden to big money."
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"Our Congress has been bought off and nothing is going to change until we get the money out of our politics," Weiland said. "The people of South Dakota deserve more than business as usual."
Weiland has gained a reputation for his folksy campaign style, even writing and performing modified renditions of popular songs -- turning "Wagon Wheel" into a song about his low-budget campaign.
And despite the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's $1 million investment in South Dakota, the support didn't flow directly to Weiland -- instead funding attack ads against Rounds.
And those attacks could bolster either Weiland's campaign or former Sen. Larry Pressler's independent campaign.
Pressler, who edged out Weiland in recent polls, has not said who he would caucus with, but his previous endorsements' for President Barack Obama's two presidential campaigns have fueled speculation that he could caucus with Democrats if elected.