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SIOUX FALLS (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to visit Sioux Falls next month to raise money for John Thune's U.S. Senate race.

Cheney plans to attend two fund-raising events March 8. One is a $4,000-a-couple event with John and Kimberley Thune. After that, people can attend a $100 general event.

Randy Frederick, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the fact that Cheney is coming to the state shows the significant role South Dakota can play in national politics.

Thune is challenging Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.

The Daschle-Thune race is expected to have a high national profile, with both sides using big names to help raise money for campaigns that could cost each candidate $10 million.

Daschle aide Dan Pfeiffer said the senator welcomes the chance to show off the state to Cheney but that the Bush administration's priorities are not always South Dakota's priorities.

Pfeiffer said it would be "great if he (Cheney) got the chance to hear how repealing country-of-origin (meat) labeling is affecting our farmers and ranchers or how concerned South Dakota seniors are about the recently passed Medicare legislation."

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Cheney visited the state two years ago when Thune ran against Sen. Tim Johnson. The vice president also has hunted pheasants many times in South Dakota.

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Daschle recently raised $2 million at a Washington fund-raiser attended by former President Clinton, singer John Mellencamp and most members of the Democratic Party caucus.

John Bart, an associate professor of communications at Augustana College who studies campaign finance, said such events likely will become more common.

"At the candidate level, they will be much more aggressive, because they will have to replace the soft money that went to the party before," Bart said.

A new campaign finance law says candidates running for federal office no longer can raise soft money or money in unlimited sums for political parties.

Republican House candidate Larry Diedrich will not be part of the March 8 fund-raiser. He said the Bush-Cheney campaign will help his effort in other ways.

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