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South Dakota voters comment after casting ballots during Tuesday's general election


Quotes from South Dakota voters about Tuesday's general election:

Matthew Schilling, 19, said he plans to vote for Democrats on Tuesday afternoon once he gets out of class at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Sitting behind a desk in the Morrison Commons, Schilling said he liked that U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland has visited every town in South Dakota. He also plans to vote for Susan Wismer for governor.

Schilling said he wouldn't have supported Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds anyway, but said, "EB-5 really put me in the Weiland camp."

EB-5 allows wealthy foreigners to obtain visas to live in the United States in exchange for significant investments in South Dakota job projects.

"EB-5 is significant," Schilling said. "I think even if he doesn't take the blame, it was still his administration. It seems like something I wouldn't want our state to be associated with."

Schilling said he plans to support ballot measures to expand insurance company doctor networks and to raise state's minimum wage. He said he doesn't have strong opinions about a measure to allow more games in Deadwood and at tribal casinos.

Sioux Falls voter Nathan Grau, a registered Democrat, said he plans to vote for independent Larry Pressler in South Dakota's Senate race and Democrat Susan Wismer in the governor's race.

"I don't think she's got a shot, but that doesn't make me not vote," Grau said.

The 36-year-old professor said Democrat Rick Weiland's public feud with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — he's pushed a petition to oust Reid as Democratic leader in the Senate — and Republican Mike Rounds' management of the controversial EB-5 visa program have been off-putting.

EB-5 allows wealthy foreigners to obtain visas to live in the United States in exchange for significant investments in South Dakota job projects.

"I think EB-5 stuff leaves a bad taste in my mouth," Grau said.

Grau said he doesn't think Republican control of the U.S. Senate will fix the problems with the chamber, which he said suffers from a lack of original ideas.

Sioux Falls voter Jim Godfrey, a self-described independent, said he cast a ballot for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds because he is "the lesser of all evils."

"I think Rick Weiland is as phony as the day is long," the 49-year-old said shortly after he voted at the Sioux Falls Main Library on Tuesday morning.

Godfrey, who was on his way to deliver some furniture from a charity, said he disagrees with President Barack Obama's economic policies.

"I always tell people I voted for Obama for dog catcher," Godfrey said with a laugh.

Sioux Falls voter Tim Mashek said he cast a ballot for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds and incumbent Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The 42-year-old businessman, though he voted Republican, said it's a shame that lawmakers can't work together with President Barack Obama to solve the problems facing the country.

"He's our president — right or wrong — we need to support him," Mashek said. "I'm 100 percent American."

Josh Mans, 29, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said that giving the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate "excites" him and is one of the reasons why he headed to the polls Tuesday.

Mans said he believes that ending Washington's gridlock "is going to take more than just giving them control" of Senate, but he believes "it's a step in the right direction."

"To get things done, they're going to need cooperation across party lines," Mans said outside his precinct at Faith Baptist Fellowship Church.

Natalie Adams, 25, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said she cast her ballot focusing on the issues on the ballot and not necessarily thinking about 2016.

Adams said she was among the college students who rallied and voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, but she didn't vote for him again in 2012 because of his performance in office.

"I'm disappointed, very much so," Adams said of Obama's second term.

Terry Fritz, 63, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said he had thought about voting for U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds, but actually voted for independent Larry Pressler because he believes he wouldn't be forced to follow the agenda of a given party.

"I believe in the balance of power, too much power isn't good," Fritz said outside his precinct at Faith Baptist Fellowship Church. "I think Pressler can go either way on issues as an independent, and he would do what's right for South Dakota."

Still, he conceded he believes Rounds will win by a wide margin in the four-way race for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.

Sioux Falls voter Darel Fyle surprised his wife Tuesday morning when he said he voted for Republican incumbent Dennis Daugaard for governor. "But you're probably the more liberal one," said 49-year-old Mary Kinkel at the Sioux Falls public library downtown a few minutes after the couple voted.

"I think he's doing a pretty good job," said Fyle, a manufacturing technician who added that he wasn't very familiar with Democratic Rep. Susan Wismer.

Kinkel, a research scientist, said she also wasn't familiar with Wismer but voted Democratic because she wanted to vote "against Daugaard."

Research scientist Mary Kinkel, who said views herself as a moderate, said she voted for Rick Weiland in part because his opponent Mike Rounds 'put out a lot of ads that were simply the same old rhetoric."

"It wasn't very useful to talk about repealing Obamacare. That seems like an old issue," said Kinkel, who added that she would've liked to see the Republican candidate be more forward-thinking.

Larry Groll, a 65-year-old Deadwood transplant from El Cajone, California, said he early voted for Republican incumbent Dennis Daugaard for governor. Groll, who moved to Deadwood eight years ago with his wife, said the governor aligns with his values and has proven himself during his first term in office.

"He's done a good job for South Dakotans," he said. "He's balanced the budget. He's pro-gun."

Cameron McCue, an economics and business administration sophomore at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, said he voted for Rick Weiland in part because he's voiced his support to allow students to refinance their student loans.

McCue, who is also the vice president of the Augustana Democrats, said he wants to see Weiland win to help Democrats hold the Senate.

"I think it's really important to keep those seats," he said Tuesday morning as he ate breakfast in the Morrison Commons dining center.

Jim Plut, a 66-year-old Belle Fourche resident, said he voted early for all Republicans and is "pretty far right of center" but also voted to increase the minimum wage.

"It's only right. They just don't get paid enough," said Plut on Sunday morning as he finished up his weekly post-mass breakfast with friends at the Belle Inn Restaurant in town.

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