PIERRE - Factors such as voter registration, issues and personality can contribute to the outcome of an election, but having more money was a common denominator for more than two-thirds of the winning candidates Tuesday in contested races for seats in the South Dakota Senate.
Based on the amounts that candidates self-reported in their pre-election finance forms filed in late October, the candidates showing more money than their opponents won at least 17 of the 24 contested Senate elections.
Candidates reporting less money than their opponents won five of the races. One couldn't be determined because one of the candidates didn't file a pre-general report.
In terms of party affiliation, Democrats won five of the Senate contests and Republicans took 19. Overall Democrats will hold seven seats and Republicans 28 seats in the 35-member Senate for the 2013 session.
Republicans started with a 10-2 advantage over Democrats for uncontested seats where one party or the other didn't field a candidate for the general elections.
Republican candidates had more money available in at least 18 of the contested Senate elections.
The two political parties took different routes financially for the Senate battles.
One technique used by Democrats was a coordinated campaign, where candidates sent money to the party's central office and bulk mailings were prepared on a reduced-cost basis.
One method used by Republicans involved two political action committees, one operated by Senate Republican leaders Russ Olson and Corey Brown, and the other known as the Norbeck PAC that former Gov. Mike Rounds created a year ago.
The two Republican PACS raised thousands of dollars from contributors and then redistributed bundles of money to the candidates in greatest need.
As an example, former Rep. Bill Van Gerpen, R-Tyndall, received $8,000 from the Republican senatorial committee and $3,000 from the Norbeck PAC. Van Gerpen defeated and outspent Rep. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, for a Senate seat.
Overall, the Norbeck PAC distributed $120,500 to Republican candidates and committees, while the Senate Republican committee disbursed $72,000.
Additional money could have been contributed to candidates or spent by candidates in the two weeks after the pre-general reports were required to be filed.
The single-largest contribution to a Senate candidate appeared to be $15,000 given by the South Dakota Trial Lawyers to Democratic candidate Sam Khoroosi, a Sioux Falls lawyer.
His campaign chairman was Scott Heidepriem, a prominent Sioux Falls lawyer who was the Democrats' 2010 candidate for governor. Khoroosi lost to Sen. Phyllis Heineman, R-Sioux Falls. Heineman and Heidepriem had been opponents in the past for the district's Senate seat.
The trial lawyers also gave $15,000 to a House candidate, Republican Mike Stevens, a Yankton lawyer. He was elected.
Here's a look at the money gathered and the votes won by the candidates in the Senate contests:
District 2: Bigger money lost.
Chuck Welke, D-Warner: Spent $7,249.63, sent $7,600 to the Democratic Party and had $225.37 cash remaining.
Sen. Art Fryslie, R-Willow Lake: Spent $12,290.12, gave $50 to other candidates and had $7,800.12 cash remaining. (Note: Numbers for various categories don't match within report.)