Tuesday, it came to light that US Senator John Thune had signed a fundraising letter on behalf of former Governor Mike Rounds, indicating that the soon to be Senior US Senator for South Dakota is “all in” on anticipating that Rounds will be the Republican nominee for the office next June.

The letter stated in part:

“Supporting Mike Rounds early — and lifting him to victory — is a big step toward the six seats we need for a Republican majority in the Senate.

Everything we Republicans talk about Washington needing, Mike Rounds has done.

As our conservative Governor, he grew the economy, attracted new business and industry, generated jobs, improved schools and made the state’s government run effectively and efficiently.”

Such language from Thune leaves no doubt as to where he stands in the race for US Senate.

But in addition to it serving as a signal for Thune, it also represents that Rounds is pushing hard to finish out the financial quarter. As was noted on a blog for the DC Area newspaper “The Hill”:

South Dakota Republican Senate candidate Mike Rounds said on Tuesday he hopes to “come close” to his second-quarter fundraising haul when third-quarter filings go public next month.

“In the second quarter, we raised over $600,000, a respectable fundraising effort for those of us in South Dakota. Our goal is to come close to that same number again in the third quarter,” he told The Hill.


The seat is a top pickup opportunity for Republicans, but Rounds already faces three conservative challengers, and another looks likely to enter the fray soon. They’re watching his third-quarter fundraising report to see if he manages to draw consistent support as his campaign develops.

Read it all here.

With the closing salvo for the quarter being the letter from Thune, you can anticipate that it will be a good quarter for Rounds.

While Rounds ventured a prediction for his likely outcome, so far, Rounds opponents are largely mum on their fundraising, except for pleas to help them finish strong.

Two opponents, Rhoden and Nelson, targeted amounts of $7250 and $10,000 respectively. No word from the third opponent, Annette Bosworth, on whether she has a targeted goal in the waning days of this fundraising quarter, but like the others, she's out beating the bushes for any remaining campaign cash.

And that begs the question - how much is enough for these candidates? How much are Rounds opponents going to have to put up when reports are filed to be taken seriously?

Well, that’s the big question.

None of the also-ran Republicans have a full quarter in the race yet. Similarly, Rick Weiland was in that position himself in his report for the last quarter.

In the last report, his first, Weiland raised 100k and loaned himself 100k. It was not viewed as stellar, but given it was partial, he's largely gotten a pass, and people are waiting and seeing for this next report, which will likely be released Mid-October.

If any of the new GOP candidates are putting up ‘Weilandesque’ numbers, or worse, we may see them starting to reassess if and how they move forward from here. They’ll have one more quarter, at most, before people start talking about the campaigns just tilting at windmills, as opposed to being serious efforts.

And it's not just them. Rick Weiland, who was recently put on notice that perennial candidate Ron Volesky may challenge him in the primary, will need to show that he's a serious candidate and put up respectable numbers. Lacking that, his campaign may begin a long, slow death, as it bleeds out from people being unwilling to fund a losing effort.

As the candidate chase for campaign cash draws to a close for this quarter, watch for these numbers to be highly scrutinized, as they tell the tale of how the candidates are doing, and may mark the beginning of the end.