- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

Candidates for South Dakota’s U.S. Senate and House seats and governor have met in at least one debate. As the campaign heats up after Labor Day, here are five top-of-the-ticket candidates to watch as the November election nears:



The former GOP governor enjoys front-runner status in the U.S. Senate race but is taking a lot of heat from his three opponents over allegations that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development misappropriated money during his tenure. He said he has cooperated with investigators and will continue to do so.



The Republican seeking a second four-year term is running on a platform touting fiscal belt-tightening but drew some ire for cutting education and health care funding in the 2011 budget. He also has been asked to detail what he knows about the economic development office’s operations when he was lieutenant governor under Rounds.



The Democratic representative, who is South Dakota’s first female nominee for governor from a major party, is critical of Daugaard’s handling of the budget. She also offered to let another Democrat sit in her spot at a Sept. 24 legislative panel looking into the economic development office, saying she’s willing to step aside if her candidacy is a conflict.



The Democratic businessman and longtime aide to former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle has largely campaigned on a platform of not having big out-of-state donors, which he says means he won’t be beholden to them like Rounds would be. He called on Rounds to testify before the Sept. 24 committee hearing.



The former U.S. congressman and senator is running for Senate as an independent and vowed to serve just one term if elected. He previously ran as a Republican but supports some Democratic ideals and politicians, so the question in November will be how much he pulls from Rounds and Weiland.

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