RAPID CITY, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Dakota News Now will host a debate between Gov. Kristi Noem (R, S.D.) and Rep. Jamie Smith (D, S.D.), and libertarian candidate Tracey Quint as they compete for the position of South Dakota Governor.
The debate airs Friday, September 30th, at 7:00 pm on Fox Sioux Falls and sister stations KOTA and KEVN in Rapid City. It is the only debate with all three candidates in the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties participating.
As viewers settle in to watch the debate on Friday, political strategists say traditionally; the incumbent stands the least to benefit from participating.
David Wiltse, Associate Professor of Political Science and director of The SDSU Poll, believes those wanting to unseat Governor Noem have the most to gain from the debate.
“But who’s really poised to benefit from this would be Jamie Smith,” said Wiltse. “If he can crack through, get some good exposure, and maybe you know, inch in.”
Libertarian Tracey Quint’s participation could elevate issues important to the party.
“If a libertarian were to show really well at the debate, most likely would be taking votes away from her, (Noem),” said Wiltse.
Augustana Assistant Professor of Government David Golemboskwi looks at the ethical side of politics. He says fact-checking during a debate can be difficult.
“Candidates also know that if they sound convincing, if they sound confident, that can do the job, even if the moderator pushes back on them, and in fact, the pushing back can sometimes create a dynamic that the candidates are looking for,” said Golemboskwi.
And while Smith may bring in recent ethics concerns from Governor Noem’s activities, it could be a double-edged sword.
“There’s always the vulnerability that that that in this case, Governor Noem would come around and have a response that would be able to turn the tables in a way that Jamie Smith might not be anticipating,” said Golemboskwi.
Voters watching at home may want to see more than just party platform descriptions.
“In order for a politician to rally their base to drive out support among their fellow partisans, they need to show a little bit of energy and a little bit of Spirit,” said Golemboskwi.
“It’s the one chance we’re gonna get to see these people face to face. And you know, we’ll have a pretty good sense, if he’s going to be able to really find that thread that might make his campaign competitive,” said Wiltse.