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Mayday PAC Pledges $1 Million to Help South Dakota Democratic Senate Hopeful

South Dakota Democrat Rick Weiland joins Mayday-backed candidates as tech-funded Super PAC bets on late surge for victory.


The tech-funded Mayday PAC announced plans Tuesday to spend $1 million to help Rick Weiland, a pro-campaign finance reform Democrat facing an uphill battle to win the Senate seat in South Dakota.

Weiland is the sixth candidate that Mayday has supported so far this year. The “Super PAC to end all Super PACs” plans to announce another candidate later this week and a final candidate next week. Candidates must support reforming campaign finance laws to limit campaign contributions from corporations or wealthy donors to receive Mayday’s backing. Election day is about a month away.

Thus far, the PAC, which has raised nearly $8 million – partly from deep-pocketed tech executives — is currently 1-1 on picking winning candidates. It supported Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat who doesn’t have a Republican challenger for a House seat this fall.

But it also tossed $600,000 at New Hampshire Republican Jim Rubens’ doomed campaign to derail former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown from clinching the Republican nomination in the New Hampshire Senate race.

The Weiland race pitting a “reformer against a corrupt politician in South Dakota could determine control of the Senate this year,” said Mark McKinnon, a former media strategist for President George W. Bush and co-founder of Mayday with Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig.

Mayday’s $1 million in support, which includes a round of new television ads that launch this week, is part of a larger $2 million campaign being funded by labor and left-leaning groups, including Communications Workers of America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Democrats are hoping that their late investment in the race could help them retain a much-needed Senate seat amid at least one recent poll that suggested the race had tightened somewhat.

One issue that remains a problem for Weiland is that Democratic voters appear to be splitting between him and former Senator Larry Pressler, who’s running as an independent candidate for his old seat. Several polls have showed the two men attracting around 25 percent of likely voters, while the Republican candidate, Mike Rounds, the state’s former governor, is closer to 40 percent.

In a New York Times/CBS News/YouGov tracking poll released Sunday, Weiland was down by 15 percentage points to Rounds. The men are vying for a Senate seat that opened up when incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson announced his retirement.

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