Rick Weiland joins the U.S. senate race - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Rick Weiland joins the U.S. senate race

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The race for Tim Johnson's soon-to-be vacant senate seat just got a little bit more crowded.

Former Republican governor Mike Rounds had already announced his plans to run for that seat.

Now the first democrat to throw his hat in the ring has stepped forward.

KSFY News sat down with Rick Weiland to talk about his plans.

This will be Weiland's second attempt to make it to congress.

He ran against Stephanie Herseth Sandlin back in 2002 for a seat in the House.

And Weiland told us he wants to fight the special interest groups he believes have too much say in our federal government.

Ever since democratic senator Tim Johnson announced his retirement, speculation began on who might run to take his place. That speculation ends tonight.

"We're going to do everything I can, everything we can to make this a thoughtful race about things that we value here in South Dakota," Weiland said.

Rick Weiland wants to help fix the problems he sees with the federal government.

I've never seen our country, our form of government, so broken then I have in the last couple years," Weiland said.

Before entering the race, he made sure not to step on Johnson's toes, as in Johnson's son Brendan.

"I wouldn't be in this race making this announcement at this time if I thought Brendan Johnson was going to be a candidate for the U.S. Senate.  I've known Brendan for a couple of years now," Weiland said.

The South Dakota Democratic Party is eager to see another Democrat take Johnson's place.

South Dakota Democratic Party chair Ben Nesselhuf said "I think that really, this is indicative of how excited we are to keep this seat. I think there are a number of democrats who view Mike Rounds as a very flawed candidate, and really who would relish the opportunity to take him in a general election. "

Weiland believes the Democrats are ready for the race.

"I think the Democratic party is energized, I really do. I do think they're looking for a strong progressive voice, a fighter, maybe someone who is a little bit battle tested," Weiland said.

Weiland told us he called Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to let her know about his plans to run.

He hasn't heard back from her but hopes to speak with her soon.

He also says he would support Brendan Johnson in whatever he does.

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