The current and former Senate Democratic leaders have a difference of opinion over the South Dakota Senate race.
At the center of the disagreement, between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), is Reid’s refusal to endorse Democrat Rick Weiland, a former aide to Daschle who’s running for Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) seat.
The Hill, which first reported the feud, noted that in 2013 Reid said Weiland is not his choice and more recently predicted that it is “more than likely” that Democrats could lose the South Dakota Senate race (Weiland is running against former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) and independent candidate Larry Pressler).
When The Hill asked Daschle about Reid’s comments, he said, “Well, it certainly hasn’t helped.”
On Monday Reid communications director Adam Jentleson shot back that “it’s sad that Sen. Daschle is working against Senate Democrats’ interests rather than working to preserve the Democratic majority that Sen. Reid restored.”
The South Dakota Senate race is considered likely to go Rounds’ way. The TPM Polltracker average gives Rounds a 9.3 point advantage over the rest of the field.
Daschle, according to The Hill, encouraged Reid to endorse Weiland a few months earlier. But Daschle refused to describe how that conversation went.
“You’ll have to talk to Sen. Reid,” Daschle said. “I don’t want to be critical. Harry Reid has a job to do and he’s made decisions that he thinks are the correct ones and I’m not going to second-guess him. I hold a different point of view.”
An official with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said the committee had endorsed and that Weiland he attended “the DSCC’s big retreat on Martha’s Vineyard earlier this year. The DSCC has also conducted polling on Rick’s behalf.” But it’s not exactly when the DSCC backed Weiland, according to The Hill.
Daschle, meanwhile, refrained from saying that the DSCC should spend money to help Weiland. He said it’s ” a judgement [the DSCC] has to make. I think it’s going to prove a very good investment.”