POLITICS
10/13/2010 02:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

GOP House Candidate Kristi Noem Hauls Nearly DOUBLE The Cash Raised By Democratic Rival

(AP) - Republican challenger Kristi Noem raised more than $1.1 million in the past three months in her race for South Dakota's lone U.S. House seat, about double the amount raised by the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

The campaigns will not file detailed finance reports on contributions and spending for the July-through-September period until later this week, but both released summaries of donations on Tuesday.

Noem's campaign reported that she raised more than $1.1 million during the three months and had nearly $770,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Herseth Sandlin's campaign reported that she raised roughly $550,000 during the period, and had about $500,000 on hand.

Both campaigns have been advertising heavily in the past month and are expected to keep doing so through the Nov. 2 election. Herseth Sandlin is seeking a fourth full term in a race that is considered close and could play a key role in the GOP effort to win control of the House.

Herseth Sandlin has argued that she puts South Dakota first and has voted against the health care reform bill and bailouts for the automobile and financial industries. Noem has sought to tie Herseth Sandlin to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and spending by a Democratic Congress that has increased the national debt.

Noem said her success in fundraising has given her the resources she needs to win the race.

"Our message of putting a check on the tax-and-spend agenda coming out of Washington, D.C., is resonating with South Dakotans who know they could never run their business or set their family budget the way Washington does," Noem said in a statement.

Herseth Sandlin's deputy campaign manager, Betsy Hart, said South Dakota residents are giving time and money to the Democratic congresswoman's campaign.

"Stephanie has consistently worked to put South Dakota's priorities ahead of a national political agenda, whether it's fighting for out state's renewable energy industry and veterans, or opposing legislation that we can't afford, like the Wall Street bailout and the health care bill," Hart said.

The political arms of both House Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend heavily on the race in the final weeks of the campaign.

Tom Erickson, regional press secretary of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Noem's fundraising in the past three months shows she is gaining momentum. Challengers usually have a hard time matching incumbents in raising money for campaigns, he said.

"I think Kristi Noem proved herself a threat to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin by raising so much money in such a short amount of time," Erickson said.