Rick Weiland, the Democratic Senate candidate for South Dakota's open seat, claims his own party's election committee deliberately undermined his campaign in hopes of boosting an independent candidate.
Some quick backstory: From the outset, former Republican governor Mike Rounds was considered a strong favorite in the three-way race. But a poll early this month found Rounds collapsing, with independent candidate — and former GOP Senator — Larry Pressler coming within three percentage points of him. Democrats immediately launched a $1 million negative ad blitz against Rounds, a tactic Weiland thinks wound up harming him more than his GOP foe.
"You put negative on a candidate and you put your disclosure at the bottom that says 'Paid for by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee,' the Democratic candidate's going to get blamed for that," Weiland said, according to the the Argus Leader.
"My national party — that I'm a member of — [was] trying to drive votes to Larry Pressler and trying to drive up my negatives," he added.
Whatever the true motive behind the DSCC's campaign, it hasn't worked to the party's advantage. Subsequent polls have found Rounds running away with the race; FiveThirthyEight gives him a 96 percent chance of winning.