GOP senate candidates go head-to-head in 2nd televised debate - KOTA Territory News

GOP senate candidates go head-to-head in 2nd televised debate

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The five republicans vying for U.S. Senate went head–to–head for a second time Thursday night in Vermillion in a televised debate sponsored by the South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

The candidates are hoping to grab the GOP nomination for the seat vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson.

Participating in the debate were Doctor Annette Bosworth, State Representative Stace Nelson, former governor Mike Rounds, State Senator Larry Rhoden and attorney Jason Ravnsborg.

The candidates sparred over the economy, the environment, the affordable care act and state spending.

While there are differences on how to repeal the national health care law, they all agreed that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, should be repealed.

"We can get back to having affordable health care, but we can't get there with Obamacare,” Nelson said.

"Above all else, I believe the most damaging issue that's facing us right now is Obamacare," Rhoden added.

Nelson also attacked Rounds on his spending record as governor.

"7 out of 8 of Governor Rounds' budgets were deficits. We had to deal with $127 million of red ink left from the Rounds' administration, from him exploding state spending and government employees," Nelson said.

Rounds hit right back saying his administration balanced the budget every year.

"Our state law requires that we balance our budget every single year. Not only did I, but every other governor and every other legislative body has as well. Sometimes it takes a while to learn and see how it gets done. It does get done," Rounds said.

But Ravnsborg and Bosworth challenged Rounds’ statement.

" I don't believe it's totally accurate that you balanced the budget. I don't think you're telling the people the entire truth. There was $127 million left to Governor Daugaard. We had to take a 10% cut. All the teachers did,” Ravnsborg said.

"I would also like to ask the governor to answer the question. How many years did you have to dip into the reserve?" Bosworth added.

The debate only featured candidates vying for the GOP nomination. Sioux Falls business owner Rick Weiland is the lone democratic candidate.

Former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, former state lawmaker Gordon Howie and entrepreneur Clayton Walker are running as independents.

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