South Dakota Senate air war heats up

Courtesy of Rounds for Senate

The South Dakota Senate race ad war is about to heat up, with at least three candidates reserving airtime for the coming months.

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Republican frontrunner and former Gov. Mike Rounds will have the most prolific presence on television, with a $500,000 statewide cable and broadcast reservation due to start mid-April and run through the June primary, according to a campaign aide.

As first reported in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Rounds’ opening ad features him at a playground, speaking direct-to-camera about securing opportunities for future generations and touting South Dakota as an example for Washington — an implicit reference to his time as governor, during which he enjoyed high popularity.

“We’ve done it right around here, and Washington could learn a lot from the people of South Dakota. I’d like to help,” he says in the ad.

One of his four primary opponents, physician Annette Bosworth, spent $100,000 on television and radio ads over the past month, airing an ad that highlights her medical career and characterizes her as a "caring voice for South Dakota." Her campaign has plans to make further media reservations for April and May.

The other three Republicans vying for the nomination haven’t yet made any media buys.

According to the Argus Leader, Democrat Rick Weiland has reserved $38,000 in airtime over eight stations across the state in April, to air an undisclosed ad. It will be his first of the cycle, and his early advertising start, given most of the attention in the race will be focused on the GOP primary, reflects the work he'll have to do to raise his profile by November.

Independent candidate Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator, has also been airing ads. Though backed by a much smaller $5,700 buy, the ads drew attention for their comparison of Pressler's refusal to take a bribe during the Abscam scandal in the 1970s to the movie "American Hustle."