If you’re being paid to spread Kristi Noem’s propaganda, you can ridicule Republican primary challenger for having raised only $56,221 in a month and a half of campaigning versus Noem’s 12-month haul of $7,932,423.15. Noem raised nearly 18 times as much money per month as Haugaard did, so she’s obviously the better fundraiser.
But if you’re a Haugaard fan, the sources of the two candidates’ contributions give you plenty to say in Haugaard’s favor.
First, while the majority of Noem’s money comes from out of state, Haugaard’s campaign is almost entirely funded by South Dakotans. only 1.2% of Haugaard’s donations came from outside the state—$500 from one Michigan donor and $200 from one Missouri donor. If we look into the $10,000 that Haugaard transferred from his Legislative campaign fund to his gubernatorial campaign fund, we can find a few more instances of out-of-state influence: $150 in 2020* from Beltway consulting firm MRGB Consulting (which apparently likes South Dakota enough to use the Dignity statue for a web background and put Kristi Noem on its front page), $500 from Century Link’s DC-based PAC, $250 from Wellmark’s Iowa-based PAC, and $200 from Indiana-based Convention of States PAC. Haugaard spent some fraction of those dollars in his 2020 campaign, but even if we consider those out-of-state dollars to have made it into Haugaard’s new gubernatorial bucket in toto, that $1,100** in PAC-ish money plus the $700 noted above still amounts to 3.2% of Haugaard’s campaign fund. 96.8% of Haugaard’s money so far comes from South Dakotans, a claim Kristi Noem has never been able to make in her statewide races. (Even in her first run for Congress in 2010, Noem relied on out-of-state donors for over 48% of her campaign cash; her out-of-state share rose to 59% in 2012, fell to 54% in 2014, and rose to 69% in 2016.)
In a state proud of its insularity, Haugaard should be able to rouse voters’ bunker mentality against a Governor bought and paid for mostly by people who won’t have to live with her decisions.
Haugaard may also gain some good press by pointing out that the only committee money has took was his transfer from his own House campaign. 82% of his campaign funds come from individual donors, compared to 59% of Noem’s money. Unlike Noem, Haugaard has taken no PAC money, no corporate money, no party money, and no money from other candidates. At this point, his campaign if funded almost entirely by the grassroots… and not one dime of it has been raised jetting off to swanky fundraisers in Florida, Texas, and Las Vegas.
Haugaard faces a lot of obstacles (seven million more dollars, eight thousand more donors…) to beating Noem in the June primary. He needs to point out every advantage he can. Emphasizing Noem’s reliance on big-money out-of-state donors is one advantage Haugaaard can press.
*Team Noem may find a bonus in Haugaard’s campaign finance reports– or, more accurately, his lack thereof. The Secretary of State shows no year-end report the Haugaard for House committee. Haugaard’s $10,000 transfer from House to Governor committee would have left $43.02 in his House committee from what he reported on hand at the end of 2020. Haugaard must document the disposition of that remaining $43.02. If he still has it or any sum left in Haugaard for House, his year-end report was due last Friday. If he spent that money, his termination report was due 30 days after said disposition. Either way, Haugaard is out of compliance with campaign finance law. SDCL 12-27-51 gives Haugaard a seven-day grace period to fix this oversight before he and his treasurer/wife could face a Class 2 misdemeanor, a civil penalty fo $200, a decertification as a candidate.
**I can’t verify the nativity of Haugaard for House’s individual donors, since Haugaard, incredibly, didn’t include any addresses for his individual donors on his 2020 year-end report. He also listed his MRGB money and cash from the Kayser Group as under Individuals instead of Entities. Boy, if I were sitting on $6.6 million in campaign cash, I’d send one of my lawyers over to the Secretary of State’s office with a complaint about my nettlesome primary opponent’s failure to comply with campaign finance law….