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Native vote fails to make a dent in Senate race in South Dakota

Democrat Rick Weiland spoke with Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer during the campaign. Photo from Facebook

Voters on reservations in South Dakota made a clear choice on Tuesday but their numbers weren't enough to send Democrat Rick Weiland to the U.S. Senate.

Results from the Secretary of State show voters on five reservations easily went for Weiland. In Shannon County, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Democrat won nearly 82 percent of the vote, and in Todd County home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, he won 69 percent.

Results were similar in other counties that are home to the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. But the numbers weren't enough to offset Republican Mike Rounds, who secured the most votes in every other county in the state.

Support for Rounds, a former governor, was so strong that the presence of independent Larry Pressler didn't have an effect on the outcome. The former U.S. senator only received 17 percent of the vote despite having the endorsement of Tim Giago, the publisher of the Native Sun News.

Weiland received about 29 percent of the vote, according to the results. So even if Pressler's voters hypothetically went for Weiland instead, Rounds still would have won the race by four percentage points.

About 9 percent of the population in South Dakota is Native and the Native vote has proven crucial in the past.

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Mike Rounds easily wins Senate seat (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/5)

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