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Republicans Out With First Ad in South Dakota Senate Race

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Republicans have now put their money where their mouth is. Just days after the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced that it would spend $1 million in South Dakota, the group is out with its first television advertisement.

The ad, which began airing in The Mount Rushmore State, is a significant move for the Republican Party this election season who didn’t expect to have to spend money and compete in the red state. But a three way race between Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler has been surprisingly close.

The ad attempts to portray Pressler, a former Republican senator, and Weiland, a former aide to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, as similar candidates.

“Rick Weiland and Larry Pressler have a lot in common,” the narrator says, adding that both candidates support Obamacare and “strict new gun laws.”

“When it comes to looking out for South Dakota, they both fall flat,” the ad continues.

With the retirement of Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, Republicans thought South Dakota was going to be an easy pick up for them as Rounds, the former two-term governor, was considered a strong candidate and President Barack Obama lost South Dakota by 18 points in 2012.

Rounds’ candidacy has been hampered, in part, because he has been tied to a complicated entanglement of shady business and political interactions known as “EB-5.”

Spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Justin Barasky responded to the Republicans, saying, “Even Republican acknowledge that Mike Rounds has run a horrible campaign,” Barasky wrote. “He’s obviously on defense and running scared.”

The Democratic Senatorial Committee announced last week that it will pump $1 million into the race.

- Leigh Ann Caldwell

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