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Noem Needs Experienced SD Legislator to Balance Ticket—Gosch? Rhoden?

With her President trying to take away South Dakotans’ air servicerural water, and food security, Kristi Noem is going to have to spend a lot of her gubernatorial campaign trying to make South Dakotans forget about all the time she’s spent in Washington. Her primary opponent, Attorney General Marty Jackley, has been here in South Dakota, deeply involved in day-to-day South Dakota issues. How does Noem overcome her detachment from South Dakota?

Aside from not doing the job we elected her to do, Noem will probably look for a good South Dakota running mate who doesn’t have Washington on the brain. Specifically, she’ll probably look for an old pal from her Legislative days to serve as her Lieutenant Governor.

Kristi Noem, riding Brian Gosch or Larrry Rhoden?
Which horse can Kristi ride to Pierre?

One possibility would be Brian Gosch from Rapid City. During Noem’s second term in the State House, when she served as assistant majority leader, Gosch served under her as whip. He went on to serve as Speaker and majority leader before declining the term limit challenge last year of switching to Senate. Gosch can catch Kristi up on most of what she’s missed while in Washington without having to take heat for the most recent missteps of the Legislature (like repealing IM22, allowing corporations to contribute directly to candidates, and writing religious discrimination into state law).

Another possibility is Representative Larry Rhoden from Union Center. Rhoden was Noem’s majority leader during her rookie term in Pierre; he then bounced over to the Senate to serve as whip. Rhoden would bring statewide campaign experience to the Noem ticket: he finished an arguably surprising second in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary over a more voluble, base-stirring Stace Nelson on a relatively thin budget. Rhoden would make the perfect cowboy partner for Noem’s ongoing cowgirl act.

Of course, having run for D.C. before, Rhoden might be a harder horse to tame than Gosch for a Pierre sidekick spot. A genuine West River rancher, he might outshine Noem’s part-time, pageanty spurs; she might prefer to be the country girl complemented by Rapid City lawyer Gosch.

Noem doesn’t need to make this choice until and unless she beat Jackley in the 2018 primary. However, if the race is tight, Noem might derive some advantage from naming her lieutenant early, to court allies and prove she can pick good people to help her do the job. Whether Gosch, Rhoden, or someone else, Noem will need someone with Pierre experience to fill in the gaps in her memories of Pierre. And for this executive position, she’ll need someone who, unlike Noem, is used to accomplishing something beyond simply winning an election.


  1. rick sterling 2017-03-31 13:03

    Noam’s biggest challenge is to get so far to the right that she can get the Republican nomination. With that in hand in South Dakota she will cruise to victory, regardless of what she says, has said, does, or has done.

  2. buckobear 2017-03-31 13:27

    All Miz Kristi seems able to do is what someone else tells her to do. An original thought never entered or escaped from her head.
    What kind of “vision” does she have for the state. I’m sure she’ll come up with an appropriate slogan.
    How ’bout “Just say NOem” ????

  3. Rorschach 2017-03-31 14:59

    I don’t know who Noem would choose for Lt. Gov, but I bet she’s going to get SDSU to give her a master’s degree between now and June 2018 to make her look just a bit smarter as she goes up against AG Jackley.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2017-03-31 15:04

    Hell, let’s add to the insanity of South Dakota republican politics and encourage Noem to add Dr. Bosworth as her running mate.

  5. grudznick 2017-03-31 17:45

    The Rhoden Rhangers still have an effective and active network in place and oodles of cash to donate. My bet is she’s courting Mr. Rhoden.

    Rhoden laughing. Nelson gnashing.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-03-31 21:48

    No, Roger. Not ever. :-O

    Ror, if SDSU grants such an empty degree, they may have trouble getting me to found that Dakota Free Press Scholarship.

  7. Dana P 2017-04-01 08:36

    Roger!! LMAO!

    Kristi will choose whoever people tell her to choose. Whatever the memo says. Whatever/whoever tells her what is what because that is her M.O.

  8. Steve Hickey 2017-04-01 09:33

    I hope Kristi picks Mickelson. And I hope they both run on the theme of SD nieghbourliness and heed some of my admonitions to foster reconciliation in our state. I’ve suggested to him to start a Mickelson Foundation for Reconciliation and attract the big donors in the state (to something besides big stadiums) to the cause of a truth and reconciliation process. That mantle is his for the taking and my suggestion is that in a few years time no one remembers SD Governors who rode the waves of good and bad economic times. This is a legacy issue as it will truly change our state for the better. The possibilities are endless. It is not the Federal Govts job to make sure our neighbors are not living in third world conditions with third world problems.

  9. Jenny 2017-04-01 10:37

    The Mickelson Foundation for Reconciliation is a nice idea, Hickey, but I’m afraid most South Dakotans would likely be against it since it would be giving to so-called “lazy” Native Americans. (typical South Dakota thinking, not mine)
    There is still a racism that cuts deep in SD when it comes to the state’s Reservations and the thinking that their poverty is their own fault and that they have been given everything already.

  10. Steve Hickey 2017-04-01 16:32

    Lt Gov is part time. He could stay in SF, keep his job, be with his family. In 8 years his family situation will be different. He’d have 16 years to make an enormous difference. I know you guys want Dems but they won’t be winning these elections.

  11. Steve Hickey 2017-04-01 16:38

    Giving to a big stadium or to a bigger issue?? A leader can make a case that this is money well spent. One tenth or our populace resents us. A third of that tenth is in crisis. Race shouldn’t matter when neighbours are in crisis. A leader could make that moral case. People won’t listen to a liberal leader and a liberal leader doesn’t have rapport with the moneybags in our state. There is lingering sentiment in the GOP to Mickelson’s dad and finishing what he started is doable. But only he can do it. I’ve told him that.

  12. Adam 2017-04-01 17:18

    SD Republicans are void of quality statewide candidate options.

    I’d like to see crazy Larry challenge Noem for Governor. We would get to see some totally stupid debate dialogue, and it would be the kind I could easily laugh at.

  13. mike from iowa 2017-04-02 17:24

    Slightly irreverent. Noem’s China wall climbing, selfie taking former congressional rat-in-arms Aaron Schock done got hisself famous and precedential. He is now going to be known as precedent for politician’s promises being worthless. Bwahahahahahahahaha!

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-02 21:39

    Steve… only Mickelson can do it? When Mickelson pulled out last November, he made it sound like he doesn’t want to do it. He won’t be able to do it from behind a Governor Noem, whose entire Administration would be image over substance.

    I agree it will take a rare bird to restart George Mickelson’s reconciliation effort, but expand your imagination: a governor elected from the tribes (SDSU President Barry Dunn, Senator Troy Heinert, CCST Chairman Brandon Sazue…) with a Euro/white Lieutenant Governor to co-facilitate the conversation could do it.

  15. Adam 2017-04-02 22:55

    Ya know, in theory, one day South Dakota could have a non-Caucasian or even a female Governor.

    Bwahahahahahahahaha! OMG I nearly split my gut LOLing at the thought.

    The thing is, Kristi Noem has less than 2yrs to transcend all the cheouvenistic sterotypes which her conservative base defines women, as well as all of her huge failures in the US House, and THAT is going to cost A LOT of advertising money. She basically has to rebrand herself entirely. What will the new Kristi Noem look like? Only time will tell.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-03 05:50

    The number of South Dakota Republicans who will vote for a Democratic male alternative over a Republican nominee is trivial in campaign calculations. She is already perfectly branded for her Republican base, offering just enough experience and gumption while still conforming to their chauvinistic stereotypes.

  17. Steve Hickey 2017-04-03 06:16

    The Mickelson mantle is for Mickelson. I’m not sure anyone else can assume it. Others mentioned don’t have any sway with the bulk of GOPrs on an issue like this which would be essential (and the reason nothing else to date has ever taken off) and certainly they couldn’t raise money for it. There are many warm sentiments still very close to the surface toward his dad.

    In my opinion, it would be a shame to waste all of that which is what happens if Mickelson becomes JUST ANOTHER GOP GOVERNOR in 8 years. We don’t need JUST ANOTHER GOP GOVERNOR. You can wish for an indy or Dem governor but the numbers, the ground game and the money just aren’t there. It’ll be JUST ANOTHER GOP GOVERNOR unless this Noem-Mickelson ticket happens.

    The left could do natives in South Dakota a favour and lobby for this match up with the understanding that native relations becomes platform agenda number one. If the left wants to help natives, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY. Noem cares about natives which is a sympathy I can’t draw out of or discern in Marty. One of these two will be your next Governor. You should think long and hard about this.

    The next Hildebrand-Hickeyish partnership in our state needs to be Natives and Noem (Mickelson). This puts a good cause above the things we will never agree on. The number one issue facing our state is that we have third world conditions within our borders and state-tribal relations are heading south quickly. It is not okay that our neighbours suffer third world problems and it’s not true there is nothing the rest of us can do about it.

    I think Mickelson puts Noem decidedly over Marty. As President of the Senate for 8 years there is much to accomplish. Matt Michels didn’t use that position for anything but supporting whatever Daugaard was doing. Did he have any legislative interests of his own these last eight years?

  18. Adam 2017-04-03 13:50

    All it takes is a dizzy, emotional Tea Party twit to say no to everything the way Kristi has during her whole time in DC. At no point has she established a vision for moving ANYTHING forward. She has like ZERO real credentials for becoming Governor – just like Mike Rounds has zero life experience on cyber threats yet he feels his position on the Cyber-Security Committee is appropriate.

    When Kristi is forced to run a tough race against a man in her party with a viable vision – while she’s built a career on senselessly saying no to everything and whoring herself out for every Koch dollar she could get her hands on – at her very best, in government, she’s never been anything but a purdy face and I think deep down inside SD Republicans know it.

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