Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Brief thoughts on the televised US Senate debate missing Rounds

Brief thoughts on the televised US Senate debate missing Rounds

September 10, 2014
The secret to live-tweeting political debates. Photo by Ken Santema.

The secret to live-tweeting political debates. Photo by Ken Santema.

Tonight KSFY and CSPAN televised a SD Senate Debate. I won’t do a complete rundown of this debate, instead I will try to keep this post short and focused on just a couple of thoughts. The whole debate can be viewed on the CSPAN website and has a duration of one hour. The candidates were kept on track pretty well and I thought a lot of topics were covered.

A recurring theme from the candidates, especially from Democrat Rick Weiland, was the fact Rounds was missing from this debate. I don’t blame them for continuing to remind viewers that Rounds was missing. This is a debate that was not only televised to South Dakota, but to the nation. Independent candidate Larry Pressler, Independent candidate Gordon Howie, and Democrat candidate Rick Weiland showed respect for constituents by actually showing up and answering questions in front of the whole state (and nation). Yet Rounds appears to believe other commitments were more important. It is very difficult to imagine any commitment that would be more important to a candidate than answering questions in front of the very voters that candidate will supposedly pledge to serve. I know incumbent politicians (or incumbent-like in Rounds case) generally try to contain the amount of debates they participate in; because debates have the ability to backfire and allow the opposition to get too much press. But is that wise to concede a televised debate with such strategy? Isn’t there a greater risk of backfire from South Dakota voters who are disgusted by a politician that doesn’t bother to show up at one of the very few televised debates?

But now to the good news. Without Rounds in attendance I believe the debate went quite well. Rounds missing did allow for a couple more questions to be asked. So maybe Rounds in a roundabout way helped the other three candidates by allowing them to get more individual time in front of constituents conveying their talking points. I won’t give a win to any of the three candidates. I believe all three got their talking points out there, and probably made their supporters super-proud. I don’t know that any undecideds would be swayed by this debate. At most undecideds would maybe be pushed away from Rounds.

Overall I think this was a good debate for the people of SD to watch. I believe all three candidates represented their views well. This debate should be considered a valuable introduction to the US Senate candidates by the average (non-blog-reading) South Dakota voter.


  1. Individualist
    September 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm


    I agree with you. Rounds should have attended the debate. (I will be voting for Rounds – none of the others warrant consideration in my opinion)

    The Rounds campaign is not effectively getting their thoughts on EB5 out to voters in an appropriate way. Whether people like EB-5 or not the general perception of it is not the view Mike Rounds would want voters to perceive it. I understand much of the information that is being talked about regarding EB5 is not accurate but nothing would help voters see it from Mike Rounds’ point of view better than Mike Rounds speaking directly to voters in a public forum.

    Rounds running TV ads about the EB5 misinformation Weiland is putting out is a waste of time because it looks like another canned political ad that doesn’t cut through the the questions people are asking. Running political ads countering Weiland’s ad will only allow the issue to become even more off putting. Most of this should have been put to rest a long time ago but since it hasn’t the best way for Rounds to make his case on the program without increasing the discussion in a negative way is to directly address the people with his philosophy on the program instead of running TV ads.

    It’s a program supported by Thune, Noem, Johnson, Daschle, (Pressler voted for it in 1990) so I doubt that SD voters are really that worked up about a program with that kind of broad support. The only way to get someone to see an issue from your point of view is to tell that person what you think. Rounds would have been wise to talk to the voters face to face and tell them what it has done that they like.

  2. Individualist
    September 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Just FYI,

    I think it’s time 3 or 4 SD political bloggers go together and asked to host a political debate in coordination with a TV or radio station or youtube.

    Maybe US Senate or Governor candidates wouldn’t agree but I bet a few others races might. Like an important state senate race or a mayoral race.

    • Individualist
      September 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Maybe in coordination with a newspaper.

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