South Dakota Rep. Noem turns down televised debate - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota Rep. Noem turns down televised debate

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The two candidates for South Dakota's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives won't be adding another televised debate to their campaign schedule.

Thursday, Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem declined an offer to participate in a live debate sponsored by KSFY News and KOTA Territory News in Rapid City.

The stations extended the invitation to both candidates August 15.

Noem's Democratic opponent, Matt Varilek, accepted the invitation the same day.

In his e-mail declining the TV debate offer, Noem's Campaign Manager Tom Erickson said, "Thank you for the invitation, but we our campaign will not be participating in the debate. Thank you for your understanding." The e-mail did not include a reason for the decision.

Earlier Thursday, Noem attended the United Way Day of Caring kickoff event in Rapid City where she was asked about the debate schedule. "We've been talking about that. We've got many requests for debates so we're going to continue to evaluate these and see if we can get them done."

When asked for comment, Varilek's Campaign Manager David Benson said, "It's very disappointing to hear Congresswoman Noem has declined yet another debate invitation by a reputable organization. Given her leadership role in this dysfunctional Congress, and her confusion about how to advance the stalled Farm Bill even as our farmers and ranchers suffer through drought, it's no surprise she's fearful of facing Matt and answering voters' questions."

Both candidates have agreed to three more debates before the November election. Two of those will be televised.

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