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Conservative Group Trying To Reshape SD's GOP

May 11, 2014, 10:43 AM

RAPID CITY, SD -

A conservative grassroots group in Rapid City has pledged to push South Dakota's Republican Party further right.

22 people associated with the group are challenging Republican incumbents this election that they perceive as too centrist.

Bill Napoli is a former Republican state lawmaker and one of the founders of the organization. He says the more than two dozen candidates are driven by the belief that the state's GOP has drifted to the left on topics ranging from abortion to gay marriage.

The newspaper reports political scientists dispute the group's claim and say the party is the most conservative it's been in a century.

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and state Sen. Phil Jensen regularly attend the group's meetings.

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