The race for the Sioux Falls City Council is almost over, but two of the candidates are entering a war of words against each other.
De Knudson and Kermit Staggers were colleagues on the Sioux Falls City Council for eight years. Both of them, along with self-described political outsider, Cory Buttemeier, are competing for the at-large seat and accuse each other of misleading the voters.
Staggers took issue with a specific line from a TV ad and campaign card from Knudson: "Former City Councilor De Knudson is a tireless advocate. When others said 'no' to development, De worked to consensus."
Staggers says Knudson is calling him out.
"This is just a code phrase referring to me," Staggers, said.
Staggers held a news conference and made a few references of his own to the ad. He says the ad, particularly a line about property tax rates that was declined while Knudson was on the council, does not give the full truth to voters.
Staggers admits the rate went down, but says you still might be paying more on your houses every year if your property values increase.
"I tried to stop those needless property tax increases. De always voted 'no' on prohibiting property tax increases," Staggers said.
According to Staggers, the two do not disagree on everything. Staggers says Knudson's ad gives the impression she is the only councilor who voted yes on city projects. But he says he also supported projects such as the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, Phillips to the Falls and the new events center.
"I supported the events center by saying we have to have a profitable events center. We cannot have an events center that loses money and is subsidized," Staggers said.
Knudson says these statements are a surprising development in an otherwise 'positive' campaign.
"Sometimes you resort to negative tactics, which I think are always kind of a cry for help and unfortunate," Knudson said.
Knudson stands by her statement that tax rates decreased while she was on the council, and says Staggers' is 'deceptive' because his voting record does not support his claims.
"Mr. Staggers claims he supported the events center, but the truth of the matter is, he supported it if private money would pay for it. That is ridiculous to suggest we could build an events center in our great community with only private money," Knudson said.
According to Knudson, her ad does not misrepresent anything, and the voters will ultimately decide.
"One thing I do totally agree with him on is there is one clear choice in this election," Knudson said.