The Rick Weiland campaign this afternoon sent an email to supporters from Tom Daschle, explicitly endorsing the Democratic Senate candidate the same day that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said she wouldn’t pursue a Senate run as many had expected.
"Today Rick Weiland is a capable and accomplished man, fully qualified to give our state a strong, hard-working voice in the United States Senate," Daschle writes.
The former Senate majority leader had previously “encouraged” Weiland to run but stopped short of today’s full-throated endorsement.
Herseth Sandlin is mentioned twice. Daschle says he spoke to Weiland after Herseth Sandlin’s announcement this morning.
"He told me, and he is right, that her decision puts an even heavier burden on him to be a strong, effective voice for our state, and our values, in the Senate election next year," Daschle wrote.
He also name-checks her in the list of successful South Dakota Democratic candidates, along with himself, Tim Johnson, George McGovern, Jim Abourezk and Dick Kneip.
After the jump, read the whole letter.
Dear fellow South Dakotan,
I want Rick Weiland to be our next United States Senator for two simple reasons — because of who he is and what he stands for.
I’ve known the Weiland family from Madison for over four decades. I’ve watched Rick grow up and get married to a wonderful woman. I’ve watched Stacy and Rick raise five terrific children and start two successful small businesses. I’ve seen him move up from handing out bumper stickers for my first campaign to directing a $50 million dollar national trade association, with lots of very challenging stops in between.
Today Rick Weiland is a capable and accomplished man, fully qualified to give our state a strong, hard-working voice in the United States Senate.
But what stands out most to me about this man is not how he changed as he became successful, but rather how he has not changed.
The Rick Weiland I met as a student and the Rick Weiland I know today are one and the same, committed to a fair shake for ordinary folks and fiercely opposed to the hostile takeover of our government by powerful special interests.
That’s why I will be supporting Rick Weiland. Not because he is my friend, but because he is a friend of the things I fought for my entire time in Congress, the things Tim Johnson is still fighting for, and the things all three of us deeply believe will help the ordinary people of South Dakota.
As you and I know painfully well, though, that fight is a hard one. Rick cannot possibly win it without our help. So please, join me in becoming an early supporter of his campaign by clicking on this link and joining the most important campaign South Dakota progressives will wage in a generation.
Rick Weiland will fight with the President to preserve our hard won access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions. He stands with small business and ordinary South Dakota families in our fight to take government back from millionaire political donors and huge special interests. And he is a lifetime fighter for a woman’s right to choose, and for equal opportunity and equal pay in the workplace.
I also know that Rick will be a candidate with the passion, the energy and the drive to take on the establishment and demonstrate to people that we really can take government back from Tea Party extremists.
Please take a stand with Rick and me today by accessing this link and making an investment in a truly, progressive campaign. It is our government and together we can take it back.
I spoke with Rick this morning about Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin’s decision not to run for the United States Senate. He told me, and he is right, that her decision puts an even heavier burden on him to be a strong, effective voice for our state, and our values, in the Senate election next year.
Rick Weiland can be that voice. He is going to win that race the same way Tim Johnson and George McGovern won theirs, the same way Jim Abourezk Dick Kneip, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin and I did, with hard work, high energy, no apology for our true convictions, and by giving voice to the hopes and dreams of ordinary South Dakotans.
I am going to do everything I can to help Rick. I hope you will too.