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For now, Weiland’s operation is just getting started. He termed his house “Grand Central” and said he counted seven laptop computers splashed around his living-room-turned-campaign-headquarters the other day. He’s hired Mike Lux, a partner at a liberal consulting firm, but he was not ready to announce any other staffing additions.
Weiland has run and lost two campaigns for South Dakota’s at-large House seat — to Herseth Sandlin in the 2002 primary and to now-Sen. John Thune in the 1996 general.
After leaving politics, Weiland spent the past 10 years as a top executive at the International Code Council and served for a year as the state director of AARP. Weiland and his wife currently own two Sioux Falls businesses, a restaurant and an event hall and lounge.
Ryan Casey, the Lincoln County Democratic Party chairman, tried to entice Brendan Johnson into the race but is now firmly behind Weiland. He’s realistic about the party’s chances next year but said Weiland could pull it off.
“I think any Democrat starts out as an underdog in a state like South Dakota,” Casey said, “but I still think Rick Weiland has a chance.”