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Supporters, Independent Watch Debate

November 2, 2012, 10:05 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Supporters, Independent Watch Debate
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Just days away from the election, can you really change your mind? We wanted to know.

We put three voters together in a room during the KELO-TV debate between Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem and her Democratic Rival Matt Varilek.

Hannah Prentice is a liberal who thinks Matt Varilek is the right choice.

“She [Noem] just hasn't been producing results for South Dakota, and he [Varilek] laid out specific ideas and ways he's going to stand up for the middle class in South Dakota,” Prentice said.

Conservative Rolland Wiese disagreed.

“I think Ms. Noem presented herself as a more serious candidate. She was addressing the issues,” Wiese said.

The independent of the group, Jared McLaughlin, walked into the debate on the fence. McLaughlin, a student at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls said his busy student schedule has been one factor in why he hasn’t chose a side yet.

“The only campaigning I've ever seen was on the Internet as well. And it seems to be a lot more liberal,” McLaughlin said.

The trio is in different places on the political spectrum, but their issues are many of the same issues facing all South Dakotans.

“These regulations hamstringing our small businesses in South Dakota. Ms. Noem addressed that, loosening regulations, lowering taxes across the spectrum,” Wiese said.

“It's not 1950. It's 2012. There's no need for us to fight over whether or not birth control is a moral issue,” Prentice said.

“Basically small business is what I'd be looking out for since one day I'd like to own my own small business, and live the American dream myself,” said McLaughlin.

So is an hour debate enough time to change your mind? No, especially not if you support the incumbent or her challenger.

“I agree on Kristi Noem wanting to repeal the law of the land, repeal Obamacare and start over,” Wiese said.

“I think Noem is dodging the question when she says she voted to repeal it, but hasn't come up with a way to bring the provisions she supports in a new healthcare reform act,” Prentice said.

And for those just on the fence like McLaughlin, the hour long debate may have been enough to pick a side.

“It just seemed like he was more on the attack or on the offensive. She seemed more calm and collected and that's what I'd want in my congressman,” McLaughlin said.

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