Tags: Senate race | South Dakota | Mike Rounds | GOP | Santorum

Rick Santorum Throws Support to Mike Rounds in SD Senate Race

Rick Santorum Throws Support to Mike Rounds in SD Senate Race
Rick Santorum (Brian Frank/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 October 2014 02:07 PM

Former Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Rick Santorum is throwing the weight of his Patriot Voices PAC behind Mike Rounds in his battle to take the Senate seat in South Dakota.

The National Journal reports that Santorum will make the endorsement announcement with Rounds, a former governor and state senator, at a press conference in Rapid City.

"We need common sense, Midwestern values in the United States Senate, not more power in the hands of [Democratic Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid. As governor, Mike Rounds was a proven job creator, and he will go to Washington to stop Obamacare and stand up for life," Santorum said in a statement.

An announcement by Democrats that they would spend $1 million in TV ads to help Rounds' competition, Democrat Dick Weiland and, by default, independent and former Republican Larry Pressler, a two-term representative and three-term senator,  caused Republicans to also pour in $1 million to take the race down to the wire.

In the latest Harper Polling results, Rounds leads Weiland by just 4 points, 37 percent to 33 percent, with Pressler at 23 percent and Howie running a distant 5 percent.

"South Dakota voters prefer to vote for a Republican to represent them in the United States Senate by a margin of 7 percent, 47 percent to 40 percent," the Harper Polling survey stated. Independent voters prefer a Republican candidate over a Democrat 38 percent to 34 percent, according to the poll.

However, Rounds has been criticized for running a weak "nice guy" campaign and avoiding negative ads linking Weiland and Pressler to the unpopular policies of President Barack Obama. He has attempted to correct that with a new series of TV ads, the Daily Kos reports.

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Recently, suspicions have even emerged that Pressler may have cut a secret deal with Democrats to hit at Rounds in return for their support, the Argus Leader reports.

The liberal group MoveOn.org has said it will kick in a six-figure amount for TV ads on Weiland's behalf, The New York Times reports, calling the race a "free-for-all."

Public Policy Polling found that Rounds' support has dropped to 35 percent as Democrats have hammered him over the EB-5 visa scandal from his previous administration, in which Rounds insists he was not involved. Weiland came in in that poll at 28 percent, with Pressler at 24 percent.

The wild card in the race, which the poll found is beginning to hurt Rounds, is conservative Gordon Howie, who has increased his share of Republican supporters from 6 percent to 12 percent over the last month and is likely to take votes from Rounds.

"Rounds is losing support on the right to Howie," the poll noted, adding that he could pose a "real threat" to Rounds' chances.

"South Dakota has the potential to join Kansas as a previously under-the-radar Senate race that could confound Republican efforts to get control of the Senate. Rounds’ growing weakness makes this a race worth keeping an eye on in the stretch run," the poll concluded.

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Former Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Rick Santorum is throwing the weight of his Patriot Voices PAC behind Mike Rounds in his battle to take the Senate seat in South Dakota.
Senate race, South Dakota, Mike Rounds, GOP, Santorum
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2014-07-14
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 02:07 PM
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