Tags: Mayday PAC | South Dakota | senate race

Mayday PAC to Pour $1M Into Weiland's SD Senate Bid

By    |   Thursday, 16 October 2014 10:37 AM

Democrats, trying to retain control of the Senate, have shifted their focus to South Dakota where the race has been thrown into a free-for-all as a result of the surprising performance of former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, who is running as an independent, The New York Times reports.

The race, which pits Pressler against former Republican governor Mike Rounds and Democratic candidate Rick Weiland, is sure to become even more unsettled as outside groups pour money into the state.

The seat was left open after Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson announced he would retire. Public and private polls show Rounds lagging in the mid-30s with Weiland and Pressler within striking distance.

One of the biggest players in the race is the Mayday PAC, a Super PAC that portrays itself as an advocate for campaign finance reform. Founded by Harvard professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig, the PAC announced on Oct. 7 that it would attempt to raise $1 million to support Weiland's campaign.

"What we've said is a minimum amount we're going to be spending," Lessig told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. "We haven't said how much we're going to be spending."

Mayday PAC started running an ad statewide on Oct. 6, characterizing Weiland as the candidate who is "to take our country back from big money that controls our democracy."

In his interview with the Argus Leader, Lessig responded to Republican criticisms that he is being hypocritical by raising large sums of money to run an anti-big money campaign.

"To the extent Republicans are upset about Super PACs, they ought to start talking about reform so there can't be such Super PACs," Lessig said. "We want to change the rules so big money can't enter into races and flood out local (effort).

"It's ironic that we would use big money to achieve that, but that is the rules of the game."

Of the $1.5 million the Mayday PAC has raised since mid-August, five individuals donated $650,000 of that total, reports Politico.

The largest contribution came from liberal Arnold Hiatt, but BuzzFeed co-founder John Johnson; Twitter and Tumblr investor Fred Wilson; and environmental activist and green energy executive David Milner also made six-figure donations.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the PAC also received $224,413 from Google and $142,330 from MoveOn.org.

As of Oct. 10, the Mayday PAC has raised a total of $8,667,062 from 62,769 donors, according to its website, in a post does not include donations from its Kansas fundraising campaign.

According to CRP,  the PAC has spent $3,846,621.

Of the PAC's total independent expenditures, it has spent $714,787 on behalf of Democrats and has not dedicated any funding to oppose Democratic candidates, CRP reported. However, it has spent $1,592,743 in support of Republican candidates and $1,539,091 against GOP candidates.

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An anti-campaign spending PAC is spending big in South Dakota, where the Senate race has been thrown into a free-for-all due to the surprising performance of former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, running as an independent.
Mayday PAC, South Dakota, senate race
Thursday, 16 October 2014 10:37 AM
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