The Democratic Party is not having much luck in the midterm elections. Public opinion polls and statistical models have been showing a clear path to victory for Republicans in both houses of Congress.
One of the most interesting Senate races has been, of all places, in South Dakota, where a three-way battle between Democrat Rick Weiland, Republican Mike Rounds, and Independent (ex-Republican) Larry Pressler is taking place. The Huffington Post has highlighted the "wildly inconsistent polls, a flood of new advertising money from the national parties and PACs, and renewed interest in an immigration and corruption scandal from Rounds' gubernatorial days," and the National Journal points out the tipping power of the state's Native American vote, all of which indicate this election could come down to a photo finish.
The race just got even more interesting, because Weiland has accused his own party of sabotaging his campaign. From the Argus Leader:
Weiland said the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's ads attacking Republican incumbent Mike Rounds have backfired and hurt him.
"You put negative on a candidate and you put your disclosure at the bottom that says 'Paid for by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee,' the Democratic candidate's going to get blamed for that," Weiland said.
But Weiland went a step further and said this wasn't just an inadvertent side effect of the negative ads. He said it was deliberate — an attempt to sabotage him and boost independent Larry Pressler.
"My national party — that I'm a member of — (was) trying to drive votes to Larry Pressler and trying to drive up my negatives," Weiland said.
A spokesman for the DSCC declined to comment on Weiland's charges.
The DSCC announced earlier this month that they would spend $1 million in the South Dakota Senate race — but that the money would be spent primarily on attacking Rounds. Experts speculated that the party would be content with either Weiland or Pressler winning, as Pressler, though an independent, could be persuaded to caucus with the Democrats.
Significantly, Weiland does not have a good relationship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whereas Pressler does. Weiland went so far as to say last week during a debate that if he were elected he wouldn't vote for Reid to maintain his position as majority leader.
The Washington Post states that Weiland has raised only about one-fourth the funds of his Republican counterpart. This morning Politico reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee is cancelling over $300,000-worth of advertisement cash from Rounds, not because they're sabotaging him, but because they figure he's already won.