Kristi Noem Wins South Dakota Gubernatorial GOP Primary

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks to guests at the 2020 Nebraska Steak Fry at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City, Neb.
Matt AJ/Flickr

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) emerged the victor of her state’s Republican primary race.

Noem did not go unchallenged this election cycle, as former House Speaker Steve Haugaard launched a bid against her in November.

“We need a full-time governor who puts South Dakotans first. Period,” he said at the time. “Kristi Noem has been beholden to special interests, from the NCAA, to big business, to corporate lobbyists.”

Indeed, while Noem did receive pushback over originally scrapping legislation designed to protect women’s sports —  asserting that the NCAA would “likely take punitive action against” them for doing so — she ultimately signed a transgender sports bill the following year.

She rose even more to the national spotlight over the course of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, standing as one of the few governors who championed freedom over mandates and restrictions. She called out her gubernatorial Democrat opponent, Rep. Jamie Smith (D), in February for his support of such.

“Jamie has long supported mandating things down to people that should be their personal responsibility to make choices on,” she said. “He’s got a very different view of government than I do.”

“He’s marched to BLM [Black Lives Matter], he supports more taxes, more spending,” she continued. “I would say we are very, very far apart when it comes to policies and approach in the role of government should have in people’s lives.”

Earlier this year, Noem said it is essential that Americans run on the Constitution heading into the midterms.

“We should be running on the Constitution,” she said during an interview with Fox News. “We should be running on a limited government, remembering the power is with the people and then informing folks on really what that means — that that means that we don’t make decisions for them that the government shouldn’t be making; that we’re going to empower them with information and facts.”

More recently, Noem said she will “immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota” if Roe v. Wade is overturned.


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