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The Latest: Noem takes on Sutton’s moderate image at debate

FILE - This combination of file photos shows South Dakota gubernatorial candidates, Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, left, and Democrat Bille Sutton. The first general election debate in the top-tier race for South Dakota governor comes as Republican Kristi Noem has sought to dispel Democratic challenger Billie Sutton’s moderate image, while Sutton has portrayed Noem as a Washington politician working for special interests. (AP Photo/File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on the first debate in South Dakota’s race for governor (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

Republican Kristi Noem repeatedly sought to banish Democratic challenger Billie Sutton’s moderate image at their first debate in the South Dakota governor’s race even as Sutton rebuffed claims that he supports an income tax in the heavily conservative state.

Noem, a four-term congresswoman, said during Tuesday evening’s debate at KELO-TV that Sutton backs an income tax and tied him to Bernie Sanders.

But Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy paralyzed in a 2007 rodeo accident, says he’s never supported an income tax, calling Noem’s claim “unequivocally not true.” Sutton took aim at Noem for getting campaign contributions from “out-of-state special interests.”

Noem is favored to be South Dakota’s first female governor, but Sutton is running a spirited campaign to become the first Democrat elected to the post in decades.

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6:55 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton are meeting in their first debate of the South Dakota governor’s race.

A four-term congresswoman, Noem is favored to be South Dakota’s first female governor. But Sutton, a former professional rodeo cowboy paralyzed in a 2007 rodeo accident, is running a spirited campaign to become the state’s first Democratic governor elected in over 40 years.

Tuesday evening’s debate takes place at KELO-TV studios.

Sutton’s campaign recently received a boost from endorsements by the Rapid City Journal and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. But state campaign finance reports show Noem is significantly outraising and outspending Sutton in the race.

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12 a.m.

The first debate in South Dakota’s race for governor comes as Republican Kristi Noem has sought to dispel Democratic challenger Billie Sutton’s moderate image.

Meanwhile, Sutton has portrayed Noem as a Washington politician working for special interests. They’re set to debate Tuesday evening on KELO-TV.

A four-term congresswoman, Noem is favored to be South Dakota’s first female governor. But Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy paralyzed in a 2007 rodeo accident, is campaigning hard to become the first Democrat to hold the office in decades.

The political jabs filling the airwaves are almost sure to surface at the debate. Noem’s campaign has dubbed Sutton a “Bernie Sanders liberal hiding under a cowboy hat.” A Sutton ad says Noem is the “worst of Washington.”

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