PIERRE - When Sioux Falls’ own Rick Weiland threw his hat into the ring aiming to fill retiring Senator Tim Johnson’s seat, it was a signal that US Attorney Brendan Johnson had decided not to try to succeed his father. Quoth Weiland “He told me he is focused on being our US Attorney. I wouldn’t have jumped in if I thought he was going to run.”

Weiland has a strong resume, but has yet to find electoral success. He was a staffer to former Senator Tom Daschle, was appointed by Bill Clinton as a regional director of FEMA, and was CEO of the nonprofit International Code Council. However, he tried unsuccessfully to hold then Representative Tim Johnson’s house seat when he moved to the Senate. He also failed to receive the nomination for the House race in 2002.

Weiland seems to be running for all the right reasons, mainly because of how decidedly bad for 99% of us, Republican policies are, and he has the support of key South Dakota Democrats.

All eyes now turn to former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who has said she will reach a decision by the end of the month. If she decides not to run, that would give Weiland lots of time to line up all the Democratic powers that be, such as they are in South Dakota, to organize the funding necessary for the general election.

He will need all the time and funding he can get as the only Republican to announce interest in the seat, former Governor, and hence proven state-wide winner, Mike Rounds is waiting for him.

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