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SD Dems Nominate Varilek As US House Challenger

June 5, 2012, 9:00 PM

SD Dems Nominate Varilek As US House Challenger
Matt Varilek

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

South Dakota Democrats have chosen a former aide to Sen. Tim Johnson, as their candidate to challenge Republican Rep. Kristi Noem this fall for the state's lone seat in the U.S. House.

Matt Varilek defeated Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth in a primary contest in which the two candidates rarely mentioned each other. They instead criticized Noem's votes on budget and tax issues and allegations that she missed a lot of committee meetings.

The 37-year-old Varilek raised more money than Barth and won endorsements from Johnson and former Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle and George McGovern. He said his seven years working for Johnson taught him how to get things done in Congress.

The 60-year-old Barth ran as an outsider, criticizing Congress for never getting anything done.

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