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Senate candidates battle for Indian vote in South Dakota race

Rick Weiland, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate with Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer. Photo from Facebook

The outcome of the U.S. Senate race in South Dakota will likely come down to the Indian vote.

Tribal leaders have endorsed Democrat Rick Weiland. But he's trailing former governor Mike Rounds, the Republican nominee, in the polls, according to Real Clear Politics.

"Obviously I need to get every vote I can get. There are no votes to waste," Weiland told The National Journal.

Weiland could narrow the gap with the Indian vote. About 9 percent of the population is American Indian and their turnout has proven crucial in the past.

Larry Pressler, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in South Dakota.

But the race is complicated by the presence of independent Larry Pressler, who has won the support of Tim Giago, the publisher of the Native Sun News. He has been campaigning heavily in Indian Country.

"I have done a lot of work over the years," Pressler told The National Journal. "I secured all kinds of earmarks for all of the tribes when I was there. I have worked pretty hard."

Weiland would easily defeat Rounds if he had Pressler's votes, according to the polls.

Get the Story:
South Dakota’s Native American Vote Could Tip the State’s Senate Race (The National Journal 10/28)
How One Senate Candidate Gets Away With Opposing Keystone XL In A Big Energy State (Think Progress 10/27)

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