Press "Enter" to skip to content

Smith Says Some Republican Legislators Say They’ll Vote for Him over Noem

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.


  1. Amy B. 2022-02-22 19:07

    She thinks she’s got this election locked in so she’s not worried about campaigning in South Dakota or actually doing any work in the state. Her national political profile is what’s important to her and I’m sure she’s going to give one whopper of a speech to keep her face front and center. I have to say though…she’s handing the Democrats ammunition and I hope they pick it up and use it all.

  2. Bob Newland 2022-02-22 19:27

    I’d like to think that it’s possible that a qualified candidate for statewide office in SoDak, in the “D” column, could whip an unqualified candidate in the “R” column. I HAVE to think it will happen someday.

    I HAVE to think that the borders of Gilead will retreat from, rather than continue to advance on, the rights of self-governance in South Dakota. They call it “protecting” women, or gay folks, or those of a certain apocalyptical religious bent. What they do is suppress their constituents’ ability to express their disapproval about anything.

  3. Nick Nemec 2022-02-22 19:44

    Bob, at one time I thought a very qualified South Dakota Democratic candidate could beat a supremely unqualified South Dakota Republican candidate. Jason Ravnsborg disabused me of that pipe dream.

  4. grudznick 2022-02-22 19:56

    It sure didn’t happen with Mr. Seiler (D) and Mr. Ravnsborg (R), did it, Bob? But please recall, as I have oft spoke about at breakfast, grudznick was for Mr. Seiler because Mr. Ravnsborg was then and is more now incompetent.

    Now, when an (L) like you wins the AG slot or an (L) with grudznick as the Lt. Governor wins the Governor slot, we’ll really have something.

  5. Porter Lansing 2022-02-22 20:15

    goatz-nichts as a statewide elected official?
    ONLY in South Dakota …

  6. Bob Newland 2022-02-22 20:18

    As usual, grudznutz puts a “guy at the end of the bar” cast on the conversation.

    Now, Nick, the Seiler/Ravnsborg tragedy is perhaps the most blatant of the absurd victories won by fellatists over capable people. It really can’t get much worse.

    For whatever reason, and in its own time, a change is gon’ come.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-22 20:23

    Any, yes, I’m surprised Noem doesn’t remember her track coach telling her that focusing on the next race is a sure way to lose the race you’re in right now.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-22 20:26

    I want to share in Bob’s optimism, but Nick’s reminder of the Ravnsborg case should give us all pause. We cannot assume that good Dem will beat a bad GOPer in this state. Assuming that superior experience, intelligence, morality, sincerity, and policy chops will win us an election is incorrect. Hard work may not be enough to add to the column to guarantee a win: I’m of the impression Randy Seiler worked pretty hard in 2018… but Jason Ravnsborg had been working for four years to get the party to back him and the county parties to think he was big expert ready to wage the culture war for them.

  9. Bob Newland 2022-02-22 20:31

    If anyone mistook what I said for “optimism,” I apologize for any inconvenience.

  10. Guy 2022-02-22 21:18

    If I were Jamie Smith, I would give a speech this Friday, from Pierre and I would start off saying this: “South Dakotans, I’m here in Pierre today doing the business you sent me to do on your behalf. Where is our Governor, today? I heard she had to catch a flight to Florida.” Every time Kristi Noem leaves the state for another fundraising event, if I were Jamie Smith, I would give more speeches from small towns across the state and start off every speech saying: “I’m here to meet with the good folks of [town he’s visiting] and I have to ask you, where is our Governor today? I heard she had to catch a flight to [whatever city she’s in at that time]. Just an idea.

  11. David Mcfarland 2022-02-22 21:43

    Great, call., Guy. My thoughts exactly. He needs to fill the vacuum she leaves.

  12. Drey Samuelson 2022-02-22 21:49

    I’ll be very surprised if the Jamie Smith/Noem race isn’t close–Tim Johnson beat Larry Pressler in 1996 in part because Larry had taken South Dakotans votes for granted, and had become famous for spending very little time with them when they came to DC, content to take a quick photo with them and then show them the door. You might be able to get away with that in a big state, but not in South Dakota, where people have (understandably) higher expectations, and certainly were treated much, much differently in Tim’s office. Stuff like that matters, and I expect Kristi is going to find that out in November…

  13. Jenny 2022-02-22 21:50

    Jamie Smith is pretty likable which is always a huge plus. He doesn’t stand a chance but it won’t be a total shutout. If SD Dems knew how to stop young dems from leaving the state for greener pastures like MN, then and only then will SD Dems be able to win some important elections.

  14. Guy 2022-02-22 21:56

    David, when I watched Jamie’s speech announcing his candidacy, I immediately sensed a connection with someone who seemed down-to-earth and relatable to the common South Dakota citizen. After 3 years of witnessing a Governor who seems so high on herself that she comes off unrelatable to the common South Dakotan. Smith seems more relatable than her. Most citizens in our state are not chasing glamour, fame, attention and money and I really believe they are yearning for some one that they can relate to and is serious about representing their concerns here in South Dakota. I think many South Dakotans are tired of the arrogance and out-of-touch, high-falutin, glamour show of the past 3 years.

  15. Jenny 2022-02-22 22:32

    Can anyone see Jamie Smith billing the state thousands of dollars for persian rugs and a sauna, or forcing out a well-respected state agency head (Sherry Bren) as Governor like Noem did? Jamie Smith has lots of ammunition but whether he will use it not will be interesting. I still bet my Vikings on winning a super bowl before a Dem ever gets elected to a higher office in SD. Kristi is royalty to hundreds of thousands of Trumpies. To MAGATs, she can do no wrong.

  16. Guy 2022-02-22 23:11

    Jenny, every once in a great moon there is a SURPRISE UPSET in politics. I’ve been around long enough to witness a few. Just hang in there and we will see if this comes to fruition.

  17. ABC 2022-02-23 00:52

    Optimism? I think we’re so tired of good and mainly bad Rs beating every D.

    We have to beyond optimism and pessimism, dial it up off those 2, where we say, Darn it, people will win,
    We have to something impossible here. Impossibly crazy and great. The drones that had the majority 2 weeks ago CAN be defeated.

    Impossible dreams of peace and equality happen. We are the drivers of that dream.

  18. ABC 2022-02-23 01:21

    An impossible new government becomes inevitable at times. It is unlikely that a 42 year reign of nothingness automatically continues forever.

    The Democratic Party is now a party of nothing, of confirmed losing happiness.
    Their only partial micro salvation is a great inspiring candidate like Smith or Sutton or anyone, seizing the moment and the next 4 years vigorously.

    The moment has to be seized by us, every moment, every day, every week.

    The sheer massive flaccidity of the Noem State should spur us all to be Einsteins and smarter than him, too.

    Ever walk by Ft. Pierre and say, Good, and then be in Pierre, and say Bad? It’s almost instinctual. Yes, there are Rs that try to provide good service in their offices. But then there is overwhelming laggardness of the R Party. Whatever the people want, they run away from and try to nullify their vote. It is like Franco Lite without the generals, the historical ignorance that somehow they can Ever nullify the people’s vote. Daugaaaard and Noem are the latest who actually fooled themselves into believing that you can get the people’s vote and throw it in the trash can with no repercussions from the cause and effect mills of the Universe.

    As the D Party recedes further this year, I’d like to encourage you. Start a radically new idea in your city, county or rural area. Be like the Tumbleweed, know no defeat! Other people might expect defeat. Know that Noem and the R types and recessives are defeated every day as they wake up, as they live only for the past and the suppression of the future.

    I encourage you to be bolder every day! Create the impossibility that you want. Create the impossibility that will free and prosper all of us!

    Choose the impossible dream, for as soon as you see it for one second in your mind, it is real and you have won!

  19. Lynne 2022-02-23 07:27

    ABC, do you want to win or do you want to feel superior? From your comment, I’d say the latter. How long is it going to take before Democrats remember that elections are not won by telling the electorate they are stupid, deplorable, or, in your words, “live only for the past and the suppression; of the future.”

  20. Keith Long 2022-02-23 08:37

    My 93 year old friend tells me that South Dakotans would vote in Jack the Ripper if he ran as a Republican. With that type of voter mindset the Democrats need to run as Independents.

  21. DaveFN 2022-02-23 16:36


    The issue is much larger than simply winning elections. Elected officials are “representatives” of the people in more than one way, including being representative/reflective of the intelligence of their electorate. If the results of the 2016 presidential election taught us anything it’s that the mass of the electorate who voted for Trump was no more intelligent as Trump himself, South Dakota politics show us the same dumbing down of the populace as reflected by those they elect. And the RNC, Trump, and enabling social commentators (eg., Carlson and Hannity) would have it no other way.

    The intelligence level of the elected is a barometer of the intelligence level of the electorate.

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-23 17:29

    Lynne, show me genuinely stupid or deplorable behavior, and I will maintain that it is in everyone’s best interest that we label that behavior stupid and deplorable and call for rectifying that behavior.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-23 17:31

    Keith, Dems running Indy won’t escape the GOP slime machine. I recognize the merits of trying to avoid biting the bad branding, but I still prefer that Democrats make their case as Democrats and dismantle that false branding and the Republican narrative.

  24. Bob Newland 2022-02-23 17:46

    Sometimes, Lynne, the only thing left to say to stupid people is “You’re stupid!.”

  25. cibvet 2022-02-23 18:10

    Ignorance can be changed with education, mental can be helped with medication, but there is not any help for those who prefer
    a choice of being stupid. It is a luxury afforded to mostly white trumpist people as DaveFN somewhat suggests.

  26. Arlo Blundt 2022-02-23 18:55

    Well…my grandparents voted a straight Republican ticket. “Just check the box at the top of the column” My grandfather used to say. My bet is most South Dakotans vote exactly as their grandparents did. We accuse them of being close minded, but actually these Republican voters are just rock ribbed traditionalists. They will tell you they like low or no taxes and small government that provides few services. In reality, as we see every legislative session, they prefer a government providing many services and tax shifting schemes to insure that the wealthy and middle class pay a much lower percentage of their income in taxes than the working poor and those struggling with multiple jobs to provide for a household. They believe wealth is the reward God provides to those leading a highly moral life, an awkward philosophy, indeed. They say they value freedom, but their definition of freedom is confined to pro-road hunting and anti- seat belt. Their aversion to vaccine mandates has killed 2,500 of us.

  27. DaveFN 2022-02-23 21:42

    Arlo Blundt

    “They will tell you they like low or no taxes and small government that provides few services.”

    And isn’t that the very problem? Their bandwidth of concern is far too narrow.

  28. ABC 2022-03-18 02:13

    11 days before cut-off day–

    16 Democrats out of 105 (70 for House, 35 for Senate) are on the ballot.
    0 Libertarians, so far
    0 Independents running.

    2020, weren’t there 7 or 8 Libertarians running, and 12 Democrats won?

    Are any readers willing to run?

    I talk about a Coalition, a Unity.

    South Dakota is NOT a Republican state. Yes, they have won a few elections.

    Go ask a blade of grass, a cow, a chicken or a tree if they are Republican. Aha!

    We can ask for , and get, A coaltion government of Dems, Libertarians and Independents.
    Democrats are generally Center Left, Libertarians are Left-Center-Right and so are Independents.
    We are 52% of the VOTERS!

    So maybe this year, we can Elect a Democratic Governor, a Libertarian Secretary of State, an Independent Auditor or School and Public Lands!

    Let’s do this!


  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-18 07:20

    ABC, relax: 11 days is a lot of time. As the Klingons say, a running man can collect a thousand signatures in one night.

    Libertarians don’t have to petition: they can nominate all their people at convention any time from now until August 9. Independents have until April 26 to file petitions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.