Hearsay, I say, hearsay!
If Kristi Noem could get over her Fox News fixation and read the local press, she might not be flying off to Florida Friday. She might be hanging around South Dakota shoring up her base before Democratic candidate Jamie Smith steals it.
To speak at CPAC in Orlando Friday, Noem has to skip the 29th day of the Legislative Session. Her Democratic opponent, Representative Smith, will be in Pierre doing his job… and he tells that showing up to do his job is winning support for his gubernatorial campaign from Republican legislators:
He is being told that in Pierre, as fellow legislators have crossed the aisle to wish him well and tell him they plan to vote for him.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise,” Smith said.
Of course, the fact that Noem hasn’t forged close bonds with many South Dakota Republican leaders isn’t a secret….
These are the kind of people Smith has worked with since he was elected in 2016. They know and like him — and some will vote for him.
He said lawmakers have gotten to respect him during his three terms in the House of Representatives and know he is willing to talk with them and strike deals. He also is an engaging person, a burly bear of a man, more teddy than grizzly [Tom Lawrence, “Gubernatorial Candidate Smith Said Republicans in Pierre Support Him—Now He Needs to Convince GOP Voters to Do the Same,” South Dakota Standard, 2022.02.21].
The Noem campaign made a big deal over 58 Republican legislators endorsing her just before the 2022 Session began. It would be fascinating to know which of the 36 Republicans who didn’t join that early endorsement have been quietly whispering their support to Smith in the lobby or the Ramkota… and whether any of those 58 early endorsers have confessed to Smith over a good stiff drink their endorsement of Noem was just for show.
Of course, if those Republicans really wanted to help Smith, they’d step to the mic when voting begins in October and say out loud to the public at large that Smith is the right person to lead South Dakota for the next four years.
But if such whispering is happening now, Noem might want to spend a little less of this Session flying around the country and a little more time paying attention to the Legislative leaders she might need to keep in her stable.