Eyeing national office, Noem launches attack on Florida Governor DeSantis

Governor Kristi Noem has said multiple times she has no intentions of running for president. However, her tone and approach have changed more recently.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:34 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Defying COVID lockdowns skyrocketed Governor Kristi Noem to the top of presidential conversations and polls in 2020.

And while Noem has denied interest in running over the years, her tone and actions have changed since winning her re-election bid in resounding fashion.

“With the election over, I think it is fair to speculate that she is now looking to run for national office,” said Michael Card, Professor Emeritus from the University of South Dakota.

Noem has continued to enjoy relatively high popularity amongst Republicans across the country since COVID. But the shine has worn off some.

Last week, the conservative publication National Review published a piece about what they see as Noem’s lackluster record on “transgender issues.”

“What I found is that the South Dakota state legislature and the South Dakota Governor’s office have failed to pass any sort of transgender bills, even just compared to the sorts that we are seeing in other “red” states,” Hochman explained.

Its Hochman’s article that prompted Noem to take unprompted shots at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seen as a frontrunner for President in 2024.

In a statement, Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury compared the two’s records on abortion. Florida allows abortion up to 15 weeks, whereas South Dakota has effectively banned it outright.

DeSantis team did not respond to Noem, nor to requests for comment.

“The reception to the quote from Fury was almost universally negative,” Hochman said. “The kind of conservatives that are fans of Noem are also fans of DeSantis, and don’t want to see the two going after each other. Particularly when the prerogative is nothing more than just unprompted resentment from Noem’s office.”

Shortly after that, Noem told Fox News that she would consider a run for President in 2024, a departure from her previous thoughts on the idea.

“She did assert multiple times that she wanted to be the Governor of South Dakota, and yet we see out of nowhere her spokesperson attacking Governor DeSantis,” Card said. “So why would you do that unless you were trying to set yourself above them?”

Prior to her inauguration on Saturday, Noem hosted a high dollar private fundraiser in Fort Pierre, the latest in a string of moves indicating that she could be considering making the jump from Pierre, back to Washington.

Noem’s office did not respond to a request for comment about her long-term political plans.