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Dems Argue Over Holding Noem Accountable

May 31, 2012, 5:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Dems Argue Over Holding Noem Accountable
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The verbal barbs are flying just days before the primary as the two men who want to unseat Congresswoman Kristi Noem are trying to make their case to voters.

Both Jeff Barth and Matt Varilek are trying to tell voters why they will hold Noem accountable during the November election.

This week, Varilek said he is the only Democrat who will hold Noem accountable for what he classifies as 'terrible participation' in Agriculture Committee meetings.

"We're not getting that kind of leadership now, but that's the kind of leadership I'm going to provide and I'm going to keep explaining to voters why I'm the strongest candidate to take her on in the fall," Varilek said.

That led to Varilek's opponent, Jeff Barth, calling a news conference Thursday to say that he will hold Noem accountable not only for her participation in committee meetings, but also for her numerous speeding tickets and missed court appearances KELOLAND News reported on two years ago.

"She didn't show up for traffic court; why are we surprised when she doesn't show up for work?" Barth said.

And even though she doesn't know which Democrat she'll face in the November election, Noem's campaign started running radio ads this week talking about her committee participation.

“Had they checked their facts, they would know Kristi Noem has a 99 percent committee voting record and a 98 percent attendance record since she's been in Congress,” the narrator in the advertisement says.

"That's exactly what those radio ads are doing is getting the facts out there because the attacks that have come from the Democrats were misleading.  They were inaccurate; we have proven that and I think South Dakotans deserve to hear the truth," Noem said.

Barth and Varilek say it shows that Congresswoman Noem is already concerned about the general election no matter which one wins the primary.

"Anyone who doesn't show up for work and then doesn't provide a good explanation for why they weren't there should be nervous," Varilek said.

"It's been a joy because apparently both Kristi Noem and Matt Varilek feel that I, Jeff Barth, am the one that is a danger to them," Barth said.

Noem said Thursday that even though there are radio ads running right now, her campaign won't ramp up until after next week when she knows who she will be running against.

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