Dem Senate candidate starts petition to remove Reid as leader

Lauren Schneiderman

South Dakota Democratic Senate contender Rick Weiland is launching a petition calling for the replacement of Sen. Harry ReidHarry ReidObama seeks down-ballot gains after being midterm loser Reid: 'I have set the Senate' for nuclear option Obama in Nevada: 'Heck no' to Trump, Joe Heck MORE (D-Nev.) as majority leader.

“This is a fight I intend to continue no matter how long it takes," Weiland said in a statement, "because it is a fight for the new leadership the Congress must have if the larger battle to drive big money out of Congress, and thus open the door to progress for all of America, is to succeed.”

Weiland has made campaign finance reform central to his platform.

His campaign said he sent a letter to other Senate candidates asking them to join his petition and consider ousting Reid.

“I wish you the very best of luck in your campaign, and I look forward, should we each be fortunate enough to succeed in our campaigns, to working with you to bring new leadership to our party, the Senate, and the country at large,” Weiland wrote.

The petition Weiland is circulating calling for new Senate leadership mentioned Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as possible replacements for Reid.

A spokesman for Reid dismissed the petition.

“Desperation is an ugly thing and it's sad to see Rick Weiland ending his ill-advised campaign and brief political career by attacking fellow Democrats,” said Adam Jentleson in a statement to The Hill.

Weiland’s petition is the latest in a running feud between the candidate and the leader of his party. Reid was hoping that another candidate would enter the race, and appeared to largely write off Weiland’s chances.

“He’s not my choice,” Reid said of Weiland in May.

Some thought that dynamic might change when the race suddenly became competitive this month in part thanks to an influx of outside money into the race.

But while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has become involved in the race, Senate Majority PAC, which has former Reid aides on staff, has not.

The DSCC’s ads have also focused on attacking the Republican candidate, rather than boosting Weiland directly. The Democrat has alleged that the DSCC is seeking to boost independent candidate and former Sen. Larry Pressler.

Weiland has also claimed that the negative ads hurt his campaign in a state where he says voters value civility.