- Associated Press - Monday, October 22, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem is significantly outraising and outspending her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Billie Sutton, in the South Dakota governor’s race, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday in the heavily conservative state.

The pre-general election finance reports show Noem raised more than $2.2 million through Oct. 17, while Sutton brought in about $1.4 million. Noem reported spending about $2.7 million compared to Sutton’s roughly $1.6 million in expenditures.

Just weeks before Election Day, Sutton had a banked cash advantage, reporting more than $640,000 in his account. Noem had over $550,000 on hand. Both candidates have received tens of thousands of dollars in additional donations since the pre-general reporting deadline.

Noem campaign manager Justin Brasell said in a statement that people have rallied around Noem’s vision for the state.

“They appreciate that she is who she says she is: a commonsense leader who will be ready to govern on Day One,” he said.

Sutton’s campaign said in a statement that he’s outraised any other Democrat running for governor in state history, but didn’t acknowledge taking in less money than Noem. Sutton is seeking to become the state’s first Democratic governor elected in over 40 years.

Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy, said in the statement that people are contributing, volunteering and taking part in politics like never before and that he believes the campaign has the momentum to win the race. The fundraising reports come after Sutton’s campaign recently received a boost from endorsements by the Rapid City Journal and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

In the pre-general campaign finance document, Sutton reported taking in about $1.2 million from individual contributors - over $100,000 more than Noem. But the four-term congresswoman raised nearly $975,000 from out-of-state or federal political action committees, compared to $23,500 for Sutton.

Noem’s haul included $500,000 from the Republican Governors Association-funded RGA Right Direction PAC, more than $250,000 from a committee that took in donations from a fundraiser for Noem featuring President Donald Trump and $100,000 from Vice President Mike Pence’s Great America Committee.

Noem reported spending about $1.7 million on advertising, while Sutton’s campaign spent about $1.1 million.

Noem’s running mate, Larry Rhoden, also significantly outraised Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Michelle Lavallee. Rhoden ended the period with about $108,000 on hand compared to Lavallee’s roughly $57,000 bank balance.

In the race for South Dakota attorney general, the candidates reported similar fundraising numbers, but Republican Jason Ravnsborg ended the fundraising period with significantly more cash on hand than Democratic candidate Randy Seiler.

Ravnsborg raised roughly $155,000 through Oct. 17, while Seiler brought in nearly $150,000 through Oct. 21. But Ravnsborg reported having more than $155,000 in the bank compared to Seiler’s roughly $62,000 campaign account balance.

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