Two candidates for South Dakota’s open U.S. Senate seat aren’t happy with big business contributions to political campaigns. Republican candidate Stace Nelson and Democrat Rick Weiland held a joint press conference Monday. Weiland says although he doesn’t share the same political ideologies with Nelson, they both disagree Republican Mike Rounds should focus on out-of-state money.
“Keep in mind what brought Stace and I together today. It’s our concern that this Senate seat could go to the highest bidder and that’s a problem for our democracy. Our seat shouldn’t be for sale, it should be won on ideas and a willingness to get out there and talk to the voters of South Dakota and earn it,” Weiland says.
Weiland says he’s spoken with former governor Mike Rounds about limiting contributions, but Rounds hasn’t been receptive.
Both Weiland and Nelson are also concerned with the lack of debates around the state. They say it doesn’t give South Dakotans a chance to make informed decisions. Nelson says he’s proposed debates across the state, but has been shot down by other opponents’ unwillingness to participate.
“When Mr. Weiland contacted me and asked me if I was willing to come forward and discuss some of the major issues that South Dakotans have concerns with, that’s what a conservative Republican does is they come forward and they stand on the issues and they talk about them because I’m proud of where I stand on the issues. This is what we have to have, the open dialogue and two party system that our government has to have,” Nelson says.
Nelson and Weiland also are concerned over elections being sold to the highest bidder because out of state money often comes with strings attached. They want fellow candidate Mike Rounds to reveal detail and records of some $9 million coming from out-of-state contributors.