Sioux Falls, SD
With the KELOLAND TV/Argus Leader poll showing Republican candidate Mike Rounds ahead by nine points over Democratic candidate Rick Weiland, he and both Independent candidates Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie laid out their cases for why they should be the next person to represent South Dakota in the U.S. Senate.
Each of the candidates made it clear their position on the EB-5 program.
"Well, I think based on what we've seen in South Dakota, I'm hard-pressed to say I would support the program. We've seen all of the things that folks are really weary of, everything from missing millions to FBI investigations," Independent candidate Gordon Howie said.
"I would favor a new immigration bill, and I would vote to repeal this, but that's not really been the issue in South Dakota. The issue is corruption at the state level, and that's what we haven't had examined and looked at, and it may well be that we have a weakened senator next year," Independent candidate Larry Pressler said.
"There's nothing different between this one and the rest. They should all be reviewed. That's something we've always done in South Dakota. It doesn't matter what kind of an economic development program it is, in South Dakota, we've taken our time and looked back through," Republican candidate Mike Rounds said.
"I've said from the get-go that this is a bad program for the country. It's certainly turned out to be a very bad program for South Dakota. I would vote to repeal it, one of the first things I would do. This is big money on steroids. This is selling a path to citizenship," Democratic candidate Rick Weiland said.
While discussing EB-5, Rounds faced attack from all three candidates about how he's addressed the controversy through the campaign.
"This will be all dug out next year by the press if you're in the senate, and it will be harmful to our state, so you should tell us tonight on a personal basis," Pressler said.
"It really aggravates me and most South Dakotans when we hear one of the candidates saying something that he knows is not true," Howie said.
"He's willing to throw everybody under the bus instead of being willing to stand up and say ' You know what? Maybe I made some mistakes here and I'm sorry for it," Weiland said.
"This is the kind of trash-talking that's been going on for over a year and a half. It's been inuendo and mis-information," Rounds said.
Voters can now take these words from the candidates with them when they cast their vote November 4.
One of the bigger themes in the discussion revolved around honesty as Pressler, Howie and Weiland took time to address attack ads directed at them. Governor Rounds made it clear that a vote for him would be a vote against the policies of the Obama administration.
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