[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/24/art.hersethsandlin.cnn.jpg caption="Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin will be challenged in the Democratic primary."]Washington (CNN) – A South Dakota doctor will challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, a close friend tells CNN.
Herseth Sandlin had avoided a primary challenge when former Obama campaign official Steve Hildebrand decided not to run against her, which he said he seriously considered because of her vote against the Democratic health care reform bill. She was one of 34 House Democrats who voted against the legislation on Sunday.
Hildebrand, in an email to allies this afternoon, will now endorse Kevin Weiland, a doctor from Rapid City.
Hildebrand, who will serve as a Weiland campaign adviser, sent CNN a "press advisory" that was also distributed to South Dakota media outlets announcing that Weiland will challenge Herseth Sandlin.
The South Dakota doctor makes no mention of Herseth Sandlin in the five paragraph advisory, and noted that he would speak to the media on Thursday about his decision. Hildebrand said that the doctor supported the Democratic health care reform bill including a public option and was also frustrated by Herseth Sandlin's decision to vote against the bill.
Weiland does lay out a core argument about why he has decided to challenge a fellow Democrat in June in his advisory.
"For too long, Washington has been broken," Weiland said in the statement. "The influence of big money in politics and the power of corporate lobbyists have damaged public policy and what is right for the people of our state and nation. In the recent debate on health care reform, millions of dollars was spent by insurance companies making PAC contributions to members of Congress, handed out by the very lobbyists trying to sway their votes. It's one of the most egregious examples of why we need to rid big money from politics and implement stricter rules on the nearly 14,000 registered lobbyists in Washington. I'm ready to take on these fights in Congress on behalf of the people of South Dakota."
The filing deadline for the primary is next week and Weiland must get 1,200 signatures to be on the ballot.
Weiland is not known nationally, but in his letter the doctor notes that he is married with three children.