The room hosting a debate among U.S. Senate candidates may not be the most important confined area in South Dakota today, but it ranks pretty high on the list.  

As the race for retiring Senator Tim Johnson’s seat tightens, the opportunities for the candidates to state their case become more crucial.  KSOO’s Viewpoint University will host three of the four candidates vying to be the next U.S. Senator from South Dakota.  Who will join John Thune for that honor?  We should know in 20 days.

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for People)

Cable news channel CNN will also be covering the debate as part of their election coverage of tight races.  Political reporter Dana Bash has been scouring the plains of Kansas and now South Dakota to tell the story of Election 2014 and will be in attendance.

Rick Weiland is riding a wave of political support from Democrats at the national level.  Until recently, “The Blue” has waited either patiently or apathetically for the race to shake out.  As the polls have tightened, the determination now is their money will be well spent.  The former state director for AARP has not won an election, but did serve as senior advisor to Tom Daschle who once was the Majority Leader in the Senate.

Larry Pressler is the former Republican Senator who was aced out of his seat by Tim Johnson back in 1996.  Pressler now chooses the Independent path and will look to retake the seat that was once his.  If elected, the former Rhodes Scholar will regain all of his seniority based on the time he served previously.  Support for Pressler is split pretty evenly among all political stripes.

Gordon Howie is the self-proclaimed most Conservative contestant for the seat.  The life-long South Dakota resident has served in both houses of State Legislature and ran for Governor of South Dakota in 2010.  As an Independent with his Tea-Party ties, Howie has consistently pulled single digits in the surveys.

The above three will be participating in the debate with Republican Mike Rounds deciding not to participate despite his decreasing poll numbers.

To access the debate live you can listen live on 1140-AM, online at or with the Radio Pup app on your smart phone or tablet.  Debate is slated to begin at 4pm CT.