SOUTH DAKOTA
     Nov. 4, 2014 U.S. Senate                                      

Gov.
Sen.3
Sen.2
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+Mike Rounds (R)
140,741
50.37%
Rick Weiland (D)
82,456
29.51%
Larry Pressler (I)
47,741
17.09%
Gordon Howie (I)
8,474
3.03%

279,412

Registration: 521,025.
Plurality: 58,285 votes (20.86 percentage points).

 SD Secretary of State




REPUBLICAN PICK-UP
Notes: 
This was an open seat.  Sen. Tim Johnson (D) announced on Mar. 26, 2013 that he would not seek re-election.  South Dakota was seen as a likely Republican pick-up.  In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney carried South Dakota by a margin of 58.0% to 39.9%Republicans had a strong candidate in former Gov. Mike Rounds (R).  Seeking to hold the seat in the Democratic column was Rick Weiland (D) and two Republicans were on the ballot running as independents—former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler and former state legislator Gordon Howie.

Rounds announced his candidacy on Nov. 29, 2012.  He had served two terms as governor, from 2003-2011; previously he was elected five times to the State Senate, where he served as Majority Leader.  In the private sector he built and ran an insurance and real estate business. 
In the June 3 primary, Rounds finished first with 55.54%, followed by Larry Rhoden (18.25%), Stace Nelson (17.69%), Dr. Annette Bosworth (5.75%) and Jason Ravnsborg (2.77%).

Weiland, who had served as an aide and advisor to then-Sen. Tom Daschle for more than a decade, worked for four years as a regional administrator for FEMA, and ran for Congress announced his candidacy in May 2013.  Two top prospects, former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Johnson's son U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, opted not to run and Weiland was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.  Running  against big money in politics using the campaign slogan "Take it back!," Weiland visited all 311 incorporated towns in the state (>) and close to 100 unincorporated towns; by late October he had made more than 500 stops.  He gained national attention for several catchy and amusing parody music videos in which he played guitar (1, 2, 3).

Pressler served three terms as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1997 and two terms in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1979.  He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.  On Dec. 26, 2013 Pressler announced his independent candidacy.

Howie, who served in the state legislature from 2005 to 2011; he was a candidate for governor in 2010, finishing fourth of five candidates in the Republican primary.  In April 2014, Howie announced that he would run if "government-growing Mike Rounds" were the Republican nominee "
in order to provide the citizens of South Dakota with a true conservative choice in November." 

Three of the four candidates debated at KSFY studios in Sioux Falls on Sept. 10
(>); Rounds declined to participate.  By mid-Oct. the race was drawing national attention.  Rounds was still the frontrunner, but a scandal over his handling of the EB-5 visa program when was governor was making news.  All four candidates participated in two debates, one hosted by South Dakota Public Broadcasting at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion on Oct. 23, and one at KELO-TV in Sioux Falls on Oct. 29 (>).

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (>), the Rounds campaign spent $5.2 million, the Weiland campaign $2.3 million, the Pressler campaign close to $650,000 and the Howie campaign about $64,000.  Outside spending totaled $5.7 million.
 

Campaign Managers:
Mike Rounds  Rob Skjonsberg
Partner at GSG Strategies, LLC and business consultant at Fischer Rounds & Associates from Mar. 2012. Senior vice president at POET LLC, Nov. 2007-Mar. 2012.  Chief of staff to Gov. Mike Rounds, Nov. 2002-Nov. 2007.  Assistant vice president / management at Wells Fargo Bank, July 1995-Nov. 2002.  B.S. in economics from South Dakota State University, 1995. 


Rick Weiland  Kris Swedin
???

Larry Pressler  several consultants

Gordon Howie  Nick Reid
Rapid City businessman.  



See also:

Naureen Khan.  "South Dakota's $350,000 long-shot Senate campaign."  Al Jazeera, Nov. 1, 2014.

Lance Nixon.  "Rick Weiland has visited every town in South Dakota. But will it sway Tuesday's vote?  Cap Journal, Oct. 31, 2014.

Dara Lind.  "This imigration scandal drove a state official to suicide – and could give Dems the Senate."  Vox, Oct. 22, 2014.

Alexandra Jaffe.  "Why is Rick Weiland getting cold shoulder?"  The Hill, Mar. 25, 2014.

Kyle Trygstad.  "Weiland Is Democrats Best Hope in S.D., for Now."  Roll Call,  May 15, 2013.






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