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Opposites Attract – Senate Candidates Nelson, Weiland Attack ‘Big Money,’ Rounds

 

State Rep. Stace Nelson, left, shows comparison charts of his voting record on the state budget with former governor Mike Rounds’, while Rick Weiland looks on. Nelson is running again Rounds and three others for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination while Weiland is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The men held the unusual bi-partisan press conference Monday afternoon at the Sioux Falls Public Libary. NPN photo by Todd Epp, used with permission.

SIOUX FALLS (NPN) –A tea party Republican and a liberal Democrat came together in the public library today (Monday) to complain about “big money” in the U.S. Senate race in general and former S.D. governor Mike Rounds in particular.

State Rep. Stace Nelson (R-Fulton), a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination and Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland, Sen. Tom Daschle’s former state director, stood together in front of reporters, other candidates and members of the public.

Both acknowledged it was an odd coupling but something that should be more common, like Lincoln-Douglas debates of old, Nelson said.

But the main thrust of the joint news conference was that both candidates don’t like out of state money in politics and that Rounds has raised so much of it—a total of $730,000 last quarter alone with over $1 million in the bank—onward to an announced goal of $9 million.

“Money has more say in national, state and local elections than votes,” Weiland said about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance.

Both laid attacks against front-running Republican candidate Mike Rounds, the state’s immediate past governor.

When asked by an audience member if Gov. Rounds had accepted campaign contributions from “Red Chinese Communists” because of the EB-5 visa program, Nelson didn’t say yes—but he didn’t say no either.

“The money can be washed through various groups,” Nelson answered.

Adding to the jocularity of the event, independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers, sitting in the audience, was recognized for a question then proceeded to announce he was having a party this weekend and that he had 3,001 signatures on his nominating petitions.

Another Republican senatorial candidate, Jason Ravnsborg, a lawyer from Yankton, stood in the back of the room. He said he hadn’t been invited to participate. GOP gubernatorial candidate Lora Hubbel also watched, then approached a journalist with additional information about companies that had received state assistance during the Rounds administration following the forum.

The Republican U.S. Senate primary is Tuesday, June 3, 2014. The Republican candidates are scheduled to meet in a forum Saturday at the S.D. Newspaper Association convention in Pierre and in a debate on S.D. Public TV May 15.

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