For Hopeful Democrats, South Dakota was Just a Mirage

South Dakota was Democrats last-minute hope for a surprise win. Things haven't worked out exactly how they planned.

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds waves to motorists on the corner of 26th and Minnesota as they pass by on their way to work, as he campaigns during the state's primary election Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Rounds is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota.

Photographer: Dave Eggen/AP Photos

Remember when South Dakota was a purple state on the cusp of flipping to Democratic control? 

Well, two weeks later, those Democratic dreams have officially died. First, the Democratic candidate, Rick Weiland, complained that his national party sabotaged his chances by running negative ads against Republican Mike Rounds. 

Then, a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday showed Rounds leading Weiland by 45 percent to 31 percent. Independent Larry Pressler came in at just 19 percent.

Now, word comes from that both parties are dialing back their dollars in the state. The National Republican Senatorial Committee canceled $346,000 it planned to spend in the final week. The Democratic Senatorial Committee has followed, saying they'll spend just $29,000 until Election Day—leaving the committee spending less than half of the $1 million it promised to pour into the race.

Rounds seems headed to victory, clearing the 40 percent he needs to win a three-way race.

For Democrats, who already face a challenging map, South Dakota was a chance to make their opponents play a surprise game of defense.  Unfortunately for them, it turns out that the traditionally deep red state is, well, still red.