SIOUX FALLS, SD
It's a race too close to call. And Wednesday night, the candidates for South Dakota's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives faced off one last time before voters choose which one of them will represent the state.
This week's KELO-TV/Argus Leader scientific poll shows how close the race is
between Republican Challenger Kristi Noem and Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Each candidate knows how important these closing days of the campaign are, and the pressure showed in the debate.
It's been a heated campaign, and it didn't take long for our debate to heat up as well, with the two leading candidates exchanging shots, going point-for-point when talking about the federal stimulus program.
“She is one of the few that still says it actually worked and came into the state and created jobs. And I'll tell you the reason the legislature decided to take those dollars is because the congresswoman and her leadership that she agrees with tied our hands," Noem said.
"How can you say the stimulus failed when you then say yes we used the money to plug budget gaps in the state budget? And yet you are not specific about what cuts you'd make if you didn't use the stimulus money. My point is, the stimulus wasn't a failure," Representative Herseth Sandlin said.
The top two candidates also went back and forth discussing the health care bill and their personal records.
"She knows that every minute we're talking about my driving record, we're not talking about her voting record and what's she's been doing in Washington DC, and that is a benefit to her because I determined from the very beginning of this race that I was going to hold her accountable," Noem said.
“To distract from her record, and she hasn't talked much about her four year record in Pierre, she now accuses me of violating federal law, there's not even an investigation that I'm aware of. Rather a review and gathering of facts of both parties and candidates that relates to political rallies held across the state," Herseth Sandlin said.
Trailing by a wide margin in the poles, B. Thomas Marking also used the debate to share his message. He said only an Independent could truly bring the entire state together.
"It’s really a shame that things degenerate to this kind of rhetoric," said Marking.
All the candidates say following the debate, they'll spend the remaining days of the campaign traveling around the state, reaching out to voters.