National Dems putting $1M into SD Senate
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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is dropping $1 million into the South Dakota Senate race, looking to take advantage of a late-breaking opportunity brought about by the Republican candidate's unexpected weakness.


The decision to spend is a reversal in sentiment from national Democrats, who had largely written off their candidate, former Senate aide Rick Weiland, as a bad fit for the state. He joined the race after Democratic efforts to recruit a stronger candidate failed, and he's drawn fierce opposition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

But recent public polling has shown Republican nominee Mike RoundsMike RoundsSenate braces for 'God-awful,' 'stupid' session ahead of COVID-19 relief vote Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE losing ground and leading the four-person field by single digits; and the DSCC's own polling showed a race competitive enough to make it a good investment for the party. Public polling has, however, suggested independent Larry Pressler — a former Republican senator from South Dakota — is more competitive against Rounds and appears to be gaining momentum.

He hasn't yet indicated which party he'd caucus with if elected.

But at a time when Democrats are trailing their Republican challengers in three red states that could decide Senate control and struggling to break open a lead in purple states like Colorado and Iowa, South Dakota could offer them some much-needed breathing room in their fight to keep control of the upper chamber. The low cost of advertising there, too, means the million dollars can go a long way.

A DSCC aide confirmed to The Hill the committee is spending the money, first reported by Bloomberg Politics, largely on television, but it will be used to bolster the party's ground game there as well.

The aide said that  Rounds "has serious vulnerabilities surrounding the EB-5 scandal."

The EB-5 visa program, which traded visas to foreign investors willing to commit at least half a million dollars in funds to local projects, has become a major problem for Rounds in the race.

Democrats have accused Rounds of mismanagement of the program during his time as governor, and the issue is featured prominently in their attack ads.