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Political Punches In Your Mailbox

November 2, 2012, 4:50 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Political Punches In Your Mailbox

In the past several weeks, mailboxes across South Dakota have been filled with political fliers.

Some are from Republicans calling out Democrats for their record, but a majority are from the South Dakota Democratic Party, which has spent more than $100,000 on mailings this fall. It's all in an effort to put more political balance in Pierre.

"You wouldn't go into a job evaluation and expect that people weren't going to look at what you had done the last couple of years at your job, and that's what this is," South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf said.

During the election two years ago, Republicans overwhelmingly took over the capitol, winning 80 of the 105 seats. The numerous mailings this fall are the product of Democrats being more aggressive this year.

"That's the beauty of being in the minority.  You can just do whatever you want and if it works, you say look how brilliant I am," South Dakota Republican Party Executive Director Tony Post said.

The South Dakota Republican Party has also sent out fliers going after Democratic candidates, but Post says some of the mail from the Democrats contains half truths.

For instance one flyer calls out Republicans Hal Wick and Manny Steele for voting for Senate Bill 49 last year to set property tax levies. What it doesn't say is every Democrat voted for the bill too.

"I do think there's a point of diminishing returns here when there's this level of negativity in people's mailboxes," Post said.

Wick even sent out his own postcard recently saying he is going to abstain from negative mailings.

But Democrats say they are going to keep the pressure on the Republicans in an effort to win back some of those seats.

"We're taking a very aggressive stance because I think South Dakota deserves to have a strong two-party system," Nesselhuf said.

While the Democrats have been sending out numerous mailings for local legislative races, many of the mailings from the South Dakota Republican Party have focused more on the U.S. House race between Kristi Noem and Matt Varilek.

Get team reports on the 2012 election results first on KELOLAND News and the 2012 Election page of on Tuesday.  

That’s where you can also join in the social media conversation.  Just use the #kelolandvotes hashtag on Twitter.

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