Rick Weiland

Party: Democrat
State: South Dakota
What you need to know: Rick Weiland is running a tough race in a state where small donations go a long way.

Democrat - Open Seat
Endorsed for U.S. Senate by Council for a Livable World Candidate Fund

Rick Weiland is running a determinedly populist campaign to replace Democratic Senator Tim Johnson. Modeling himself after President Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign against the “malefactors of great wealth,” he argues that big money has Congress in a headlock, that CEOs’ salaries are much too high compared to those of workers, and that Apple Inc. brags about paying its taxes while stashing funds in low-tax countries.

Rick Weiland is a progressive candidate who's seeking office to fight corporate interests and income inequality.

The Mount Rushmore state, heavily influenced by farming, was home to the first candidate that Council for a Livable World ever endorsed, a young professor named George McGovern in 1962. Since that time, Council has backed winning Democratic candidates such as Senators Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson and James Abourezk.

Weiland is a fifth-generation South Dakotan born in small town Madison, South Dakota. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1980 with a degree in communications and political science.

He began his political career during college, when he worked on Tom Daschle’s first Congressional campaign in 1978, eventually rising to become Daschle’s Senior Adviser and State Director. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him field director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of coping with disasters in six states. He also served as state director for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), CEO of the non-profit International Code Council and owner of a Sioux Falls restaurant.

Weiland is a progressive on national security issues as well. He was an early opponent of using military force in Syria, saying he has “grown weary of these international conflicts” and is “...opposed to any unilateral decision by the United States to declare war on Syria."

He advocates ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty and further nuclear weapons reductions. He opposes spending more on our flawed missile defense system and urges diplomacy, rather than the use of force, with Iran and North Korea. He supports removing virtually all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

While Weiland has no Democratic primary opponents, Republicans face a multi-candidate primary to select their nominee. Former Republican Governor Mike Rounds is running, but he is being challenged from the right by at least three other Republicans in the June 2014 primary.

Polls shows Rounds, who is much better known, ahead of Weiland, by a modest margin, one that Weiland has cut in half in just his first two months of campaigning. Weiland polls much better against all of the other Republicans.

Rounds has set a goal of raising $9 million. Weiland, his anti-Big Money campaign whose slogan is “Take it Back,” is asking supporters for $9 contributions as a contrast. Weiland has raised about $300,000 to this point.

The South Dakota Senate race is exactly the kind of contest for which our founder, Leo Szilard, established the Council in 1962. Weiland is an impressive underdog candidate in a small state where the dollars raised go much further than in California, Texas or New York. He's fighting an uphill battle, but with strong grassroots support and a compelling message about income inequality, he can pull off a victory.

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People for Rick Weiland
Council for a Livable World
322 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20002

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