Four Republicans will compete for the party's nomination in the race for South Dakota's open U.S. Senate seat.
State Representative Stace Nelson said Tuesday he will officially announce his candidacy Sunday during stops in Alexandria and Rapid City.
"If there were an actual conservative in the race, I would not be getting in," Nelson said Tuesday afternoon.
The Marine veteran and retired NCIS agent says he's jumping into the Senate race to spare South Dakotans from voting for the same-old politicians.
"As a good South Dakotan, as a Marine veteran, as a dad, as a grandpa, I can't sit by and watch the same mistakes our country has made in the past of sending these same pragmatic, professional politicians to D.C.," Nelson said.
Nelson says he's a true fiscal conservative. He points out that the state accumulated a multimillion dollar deficit under the leadership of former Governor Mike Rounds and State Senator Larry Rhoden, which eventually led to the ten percent budget cuts in 2011.
"When I took office as a freshman, I was presented with a $127 million deficit that our former governor and former House Majority Leader had created in the state of South Dakota," Nelson said.
Serving more than two decades in the military, Nelson says he also knows how to reign in spending in the Department of Defense, and just like his service to the country, Nelson sees a run for Senate as a duty.
"My own personal interests are not to go to D.C., but my duties and my responsibilities as a grandfather, a dad, and as a citizen of this great state is to continue my civic duties and serve in the U.S. Senate," Nelson said.
Tuesday afternoon, State Senator Larry Rhoden says he stands by his record in the legislature saying he has carried bills to reduce property taxes and fought proposals to increase taxes.
In response to Nelson's statements on the state deficit, the Rounds campaign says there was never actually a deficit when Rounds left office but a projection that there would be a budget shortfall because of the recession. Communications Director Mitch Krebs adds that Rounds proposed a budget that would have made cuts and used reserves to balance the budget before Daugaard took office.
"Claiming that Governor Rounds left the state with a deficit is simply not true," Krebs said.