Election 2018 Governor South Dakota

Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton answers a question during the gubernatorial debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem on Oct. 23 in Sioux Falls.

The total amount of fundraising reported by candidates for governor in South Dakota’s current election cycle has surpassed $12 million, and total spending is approaching $10 million, according to a Rapid City Journal analysis.

Those figures, which may be records for a governor’s race in the state, are growing every day as money pours into a reportedly tight contest between Democratic nominee Billie Sutton and Republican nominee Kristi Noem. Libertarian nominee Kurt Evans is also on the ballot.

The biggest recent contributions to the Sutton and Noem campaigns have come from out-of-state, national-level political action committees.

Noem’s campaign received $300,000 on Thursday from a national super PAC called RGA Right Direction, which is based in Washington, D.C., and is funded mostly by multi-million-dollar contributions from the Republican Governors Association. RGA Right Direction previously gave $250,000 to Noem’s campaign on Oct. 2 and another $250,000 on Aug. 30, raising the group’s total support of Noem to $800,000.

Sutton received $375,000 on Thursday from Democratic Action, a national PAC based in Washington, D.C., which is funded by individual contributions of $5,000 or less from around the nation. The Thursday contribution appeared to be the first from the PAC to Sutton’s campaign.

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The last comprehensive reports of the candidates’ campaign finances, including all income and expenses, were filed Oct. 22 for the period ending Oct. 17. The next full reports are not due until Jan. 25, but candidates must file supplemental reports between now and Election Day listing any contributions exceeding $500.

As of Monday afternoon, the contributions listed on those supplemental reports added up to a combined $1.47 million, all received during the prior 12 days. Of that amount, $928,043 went to Noem’s campaign, and $544,520 went Sutton.

Cumulatively, since the beginning of their respective campaigns as far back as 2016, Noem has reported income of $6.52 million and expenses of $5.03 million; Sutton has reported income of $3.19 million and expenses of $2 million; and Marty Jackley, the Republican who lost the June primary election to Noem, reported income of $2.51 million and an equal amount of expenses. The lone campaign finance report filed by Evans, the Libertarian candidate, says he has not raised or spent any money.

The Journal compiled the figures from the year-end, pre-primary, pre-general, supplemental and amended campaign finance reports filed by each candidate.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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Enterprise Reporter

Enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal and author of "Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills."