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Senate ads hitting television airwaves in SD

Former Gov. Mike Rounds is running his first TV ad of his bid to become South Dakota's next U.S. Senator.

By Dirk Lammers

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Television ads for the lone Democratic candidate and the Republican front-runner for one of South Dakota's U.S. Senate seats are beginning to hit the airwaves.

Rick Weiland, a Sioux Falls small business owner who once served as a staffer for former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, is unopposed on the Democratic side for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is considered the front-runner among the five Republicans vying for the GOP nomination. The primary is June 3.

Weiland's 30-second ad, titled "Take it Back," features a montage of photos of state residents and video snippets of the Democratic candidate meeting people. The narrator says that if people are going to take back the country, it's going to start in various small towns in South Dakota with someone standing up to say America is supposed to be the land of big hopes and dreams, not big money.

"So if you're tired of taking it in Virgil and Hot Springs, take it back," the narrator says. "Rick Weiland's ready if you are, and we promise they'll be hearing us all the way to D.C."

In Rounds' 60-second spot, titled "Reacquainted," the Republican offers some biographical background before touting his experience as governor from 2003-2010, saying the state balanced its budget each year and kept taxes among the lowest in the nation.

"With your help, we'll change Washington, D.C., cutting bureaucracy and making government live within its means, like we do here in South Dakota," he said. "Working together we can build a better future for ourselves and generations to come."

Also seeking the GOP nomination are state Rep. Stace Nelson of Fulton, state Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center, Yankton attorney and soldier Jason Ravnsborg and Sioux Falls physician Annette Bosworth. Rounds is considered the front-runner for the seat, which provides a prime opportunity for Republicans needing a net gain of six seats to control the U.S. Senate.

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler, who served two terms in the House followed by three Senate terms from 1975 to 1997, is running as an independent. In February, Pressler bought two 30-second local spots during the Oscars broadcast to remind South Dakota residents that he was the lone congressman to turn down a bribe in the real-life 1970s Abscam scandal, which was the focus of best picture nominee "American Hustle."