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Haugaard Wallows in Standard Right-Wing Fluff, Fails to Capitalize on Noem’s Queenly Luxury

Governor Kristi Noem and the press hand her primary challenger Steve Haugaard a perfect issue on which to skewer the Governor, her extravagant purchases of $4,000 rugs and a sauna for the Governor’s Mansion. Noem’s luxury tastes should offend voters across ideological lines, thus providing a campaign message that can keep Noem on defense in front of any audience.

But instead of capitalizing on this easy goal, Haugaard wallows in the usual conservabase arcanery and dog whistles that make it hard to distinguish him from his opponent. His campaign messages following the rug/sauna report have consisted of…

  1. a “South Dakota First” retweet from some radical-rightwing Trumpist account picking on Noem and trumpeting Tim Scott and the “First Step Act” (if you have to look it up, it’s not an effective campaign tweet);
  2. a shadowy profession of Second Amendment and self-defense rights (um, Steve, the Second Amendment is about defending the nation, not the self, and even if we accept your misinterpretation of the Constitution, hugging guns doesn’t distinguish you from Kristi Noem, who has put out a lot more Tweets of herself handling firearms and looking cute doing it than you have—and as a bonus challenge for readers, I challenge anyone to find a published photo of Steven Haugaard with a gun in his hands, or even in camo gear!);
  3. a retweet of a pre-Thanksgiving KELO Radio interview;
  4. a press release calling on Noem to protect us from “Biden’s Vaccine Mandate” (which she’s done enough to fight to blunt your weak attack on the coronavirus front enough to prevent it from shifting many votes your way)
  5. and, just this morning, a rehash of Kristi Noem’s alleged failure to protect girls from the menace of “biological males…competing in girls’ sports” (another non-distinguishing issue, because when pressed, Noem will say enough anti-trans bushwah to blunt your attack and keep at least half of the GOP primary culture warriors on her side).

Good grief, Steve, as I said yesterday, the campaign ad on the luxury rugs and sauna writes itself:

What Team Haugaard could do with Kristi's Mansion sauna.
What Team Haugaard could do with Kristi’s Mansion sauna.

The tie-ins between Sauna Queen and Snow Queen are endless. You could develop a whole theme of Queen Kristi ads—Snow Queen, Sauna Queen, Travel Queen, Selfie Queen, Covid Queen (oh, sorry, Haugaard can’t use that title, because Rolling Stone can lead to dancing)—all leading to some great patriotic campaign like, Down with the Queen! or We’re a Republic, not a Monarchy! or… I don’t know—for Pete’s sake, Steve, do I have to come up with everything for you?

Haugaard’s inability to think beyond his standard arch-right echo chamber is the same thing that has prevented past right-wing challengers (Tapio, Howie, Hubbel, Knuppe…) from gaining traction against their SDGOP establishment opponents. Arguing about the finer points of true conservatism won’t win an election; hard attacks on Noem’s obvious self-serving extravagance and corruption will.


  1. Porter Lansing 2021-12-01 13:55

    Cory, sir.

    No disrespect to your campaign expertise, but if being nasty was how you win elections, wouldn’t you have beaten Sen. Novstrup?

  2. Donald Pay 2021-12-01 15:19

    Clearly, Haugaard cares more about fringe issues than Noem’s corruption and incompetence, and I suppose that makes sense. The Republican Party is a fascist party, wallowing in a pigsty issues that have little to do with good governance. As long as they can kick someone—trans people are the latest target—they happiley, ignore their leaders’ incompetence. In fact, when it come to incompetence on covid, Haugaard leaves little room between himself and Covid Kristi. Neither care how many South Dakotans die, and, quite frankly neither do I, as long as the cemeteries are filling up with Republicans. The more dead Republicans the better off we will all be.

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-12-01 15:58

    You know Donald Pay, sometimes I feel just like that too. However, if those idiots had all gotten their shots we would all be out of this Pandemic mess. Name calling isn’t everything, but from now on I’m calling them all “killer”. It’s really too nice, but murderer seems too specific. So killer Noem and particularly killer shortstop DeSantis and killer Abbott of course, have a nice day killing more of your subjects. Maybe Haugaard will get there too.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-12-01 15:59

    It’s over 800,000 now folks, don’t look away for too long.

  5. Lottie 2021-12-01 16:03

    Wow thats extreme but that incompetence remark sounds correct. What is going to become of SD. Hopefully these viruses don’t take us earlier, speaking of graveyards.

  6. ArloBlundt 2021-12-01 16:25

    Well…I won’t hold my breath waiting for Haugaard to attack the Republican nobility, Mrs. Noem, or the big banks and health care monopoly in South Dakota. That would be very bad form and won’t get you invited to many cocktail parties. Far better, Haugaard believes, to attack Mrs,. Noem for not being far enough to the Right.

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-12-01 16:37

    Mark Anderson: My plan is to continue quadruple masking, staying away from “humans” (Republicans in Fall River County), washing my hands, and getting my booster shot.
    This article got a wee bit threadjacked, but that’s OK. Reptilians need to die.

  8. Tom 2021-12-01 16:47

    Come on, man! After a hard day slogging posters of herself ridding a horsey, Kristi deserves to relax in a hot sauna. She opens the door, clouds of billowing steam greet her. As the steam fades away, she notices someone in the corner, pouring more water on the coals….GASP! It’s Jason!!! Cue Janet Leigh’s scream…fade to black.

  9. larry kurtz 2021-12-01 19:56

    Pierre enjoys federally subsidized air service, so do Watertown, Spearditch and Sioux Falls so Mrs. Noem can spend next to nothing on her campaign junkets touting South Dakota’s self-reliance whilst flouting moral hazard.

    Kristi is an amateur now-turned professional catwalk contestant without shame or remorse who has since been fingered for a fling with Trump henchman, Corey Lewandowski. Is she compliant, infidelitous, simply jaded or all the above?

  10. DaveFN 2021-12-01 23:19

    If Haugaard fails to hire you, Cory, he’s not a serious candidate. Or just plain stupid.

  11. mike from iowa 2021-12-02 11:12

    Every magat pol is exactly identical to hollow point bullets. Their entry is unremarkable, but, they leave unbelievable damage when they exit.

  12. John 2021-12-02 16:22

    Interesting pole on young adults from the Kennedy School of Government. Takeaways include:
    – most believe US democracy is failing or is in trouble;
    – half the repubs think there will be a civil war in their lifetime (sore losers), while a third of the democrats think so (that the sore losers will chose anarchy over democracy;
    – they have a growing unfavorable view of Biden, primarily because of weak action on gun control [the demos mantra of vote! vote! vote! is their way of saying ‘thoughts and prayers’ – in either case nothing is done];
    – they have dim views on trump;
    – they have dim views on congress;
    – a majority from both persuasions think the Corina Virus changed them (it definitely changed my WWI vet grandfather, et al., social distancing and few public displays of affection for the duration of his 89 years).

  13. jerry 2021-12-02 17:42

    The crooked republican US Supreme Court might fix South Dakota in an interesting way with the abortion ruling coming. Women will now be seen as only worthy of carrying a kid and probably will lose more than that as Title IX and other programs designed for women will no longer be deemed necessary. We might see women stepping up to vote for those who will protect their rights and it sure as hell ain’t republicans.

    South Dakota Democrats should step up and campaign on fighting for women and for women’s rights. Looking at you Dirty, Hag, Schoenbeck and the rest of the fascists.

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