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Voters will get in-depth forums for two of three state primaries

PIERRE — South Dakota Public Broadcasting will provide what might be the only statewide televised debates before the June 3 primary elections that will decide the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate and the Democratic nomination for governor.

Public television also attempted to host a debate between candidates for the Republican nomination for governor. That May 22 event fell through, however.

Both candidates couldn't attend, according to Stephanie Rissler, who is host for SDPB's political forums.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard will keep a previously scheduled campaign appearance instead of facing former state Rep. Lora Hubbel, of Sioux Falls.

"He had already accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Davison County Lincoln Day (Republican dinner). We let SDPB know that and they decided not to reschedule," Daugaard campaign official Kelsey Webb said.

The five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate will square off May 15 in an extended 90-minute program starting at 8 p.m.

Accepting SDPB's invitations are Annette Bosworth, of Sioux Falls, state Rep. Stace Nelson, of Fulton, Jason Ravnsborg, of Yankton, state Sen. Larry Rhoden, of Union Center, and former Gov. Mike Rounds, of Fort Pierre.

The forum marks the second time in the 2014 campaign season that the Republican Senate candidates will sit down in a longer-form setting. The five faced off the first time in the South Dakota Newspaper Association debate held April 12 in Pierre.

They are competing to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tim Johnson, who is retiring. Rick Weiland, of Sioux Falls, is the only Democrat running.

Three independents seeking the Senate seat also have been certified for the November general election ballot.

They are former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler, of Sioux Falls, and former state legislator Gordon Howie, of Rapid City, who were Republicans when they held office, and Clayton Walker, of Black Hawk, who was a Democratic legislative intern.

The two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor will get their prime-time hour on May 29. The program featuring Joe Lowe, of Piedmont, and state Rep. Susan Wismer, of Britton, begins at 8 p.m.

The winner between Lowe and Wismer faces the winner of the Hubbel-Daugaard Republican primary. An independent candidate, Michael Myers, of Centerville, also will be on the November ballot for governor.