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Noem Bolts Early from Herbster Wake, Avoids Awkward Stage Moment with Lewandowski

Last September, both Governor Kristi Noem and the man who loaned her planes and won her endorsement in the Nebraska GOP gubernatorial primary, Charles Herbster, cut ties with Corey Lewandowski over allegations that he sexually harassed big GOP donor Trashelle Odom of Idaho at a Las Vegas fundraiser. Keeping her distance from Lewandowski made extra practical sense for Noem, as she needed to quash unproven rumors that she and Lewandowski were cheating on their spouses with each other.

It is thus noteworthy that Charles Herbster apparently invited both Lewandowski and Noem to his election night party this week Tuesday at the Lincoln Station Great Hall in Lincoln, Nebraska, an even that turned funereal as the election returns showed Herbster losing to fellow culture-warrior Jim Pillen. Even more noteworthy is the fact that, in a display of sheer tone-deafness, as he delivered his defeat speech, Herbster invited Lewandowski to join him on stage, and then immediately after Lewandowski finished, invited Noem to join him and the campaign advisor they supposedly were done with on stage.

Lewandowski starts speaking at Herbster’s podium at 12:30 in this video from the Lincoln Journal Star.

Lewandowski blows smoke for about 50 seconds. He and Herbster hug. At 13:25, Herbster says, “And then, I want to bring up America’s Governor” (that’s Lewandowski’s marketing line) “Governor Kristi Noem!”

There’s applause and whoops and eager looks. Herbster points and looks stage left, as do the visible members of his stage party, as if they all had a pretty good idea of where America’s Governor was last spotted. “She’s somewhere!” says someone off camera. “She’s here somewhere—I don’t know where.”

The applause dies quickly. “She here?” Herbster asks in a silence not quite as awkward as the scene that Noem avoided.

“She was,” replies the off-camera voice. Off-camera man adds a couple more syllables unintelligible to us listeners. Herbster says “O.K.,’ shrugs, and ums his way toward another thank you and a promise that, “If somebody can find her, we’ll visit a little bit, and then we’ll bring her back up here.” He rambles on about liberals and illegal aliens and drugs and cops and safety and prime rib. But Noem still weighs on his mind. At 16:05, he asked, “Is Kristi here yet? Anybody?” as if having her speak was a key point of the planned remarks, as if he expected her to be in the house and on the stage with him, even in defeat, even next to the toxic Lewandowski. But no one has eyes on Kristi, who’s probably storming out of the building with her dragooned South Dakota Highway Patrol bodyguards to get back in the black limo 4×4 and onto 180 and the airport as fast as she can.

What were you thinking, Charles? Did you think that because Lewandowski and Noem posed together at Chuck Norris’s fundraiser in Texas a month ago that Noem would see no optical problem with standing and speaking live on stage with the campaign advisor you both said you were cutting off but whom you just spotlighted as a vital part of your campaign? Did you think Noem really wanted the image beaming out to all the world of her standing between two sleazy gropemongers and a loser to boot? You make Noem look bad by losing in a race in which she conspicuously expended her flimsy political capital, and then you ask her to share your loser’s spotlight with the creep a lot of people think she was boinking?

Perhaps that political density helps explain how Herbster blew the lead he thought he could buy with his own millions.

p.s.: Kristi may actually have put in a long day to face this embarrassment at Chuck’s party. On Tuesday, May 10, at 10:23 p.m. and 10:53 p.m., Noem tweeted photos of herself at the Beadle County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner at the Crossroads in Huron Tuesday evening. Noem was listed as the keynote speaker at the event. The social hour started at 5:30; dinner started at 6 p.m.

Senator David Wheeler, tweet showing Gov. Kristi Noem speaking to Beadle County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Huron, SD, posted 2022.05.10 22:58 CDT.
Senator David Wheeler, tweet showing Gov. Kristi Noem speaking to Beadle County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Huron, SD, posted 2022.05.10 22:58 CDT.

Update 2022.05.13 05:43 CDT—Aerial Trivia: A private jet, Cessna Citation CJ1, tail number N417Q, owned by CP Holdings of Watertown, flew from Watertown to Huron on Tuesday evening, arriving at 7:08 p.m. N417Q took off from Huron at 7:43 p.m. and arrived in Lincoln at 8:36 p.m. The jet remained in Lincoln overnight, then took off Wednesday morning at 8:08 a.m. and flew to Pierre, arriving at 8:57 a.m. N417Q departed Pierre at 9:15 a.m. and returned to base in Watertown at 9:47 a.m.

The same jet flew from Watertown to Millard airport in Omaha on Saturday evening, May 7, arriving at 8:28 p.m. N417Q took off from Omaha at 9:04 p.m. and landed at Miller Field in Valentine at 10:12 p.m. The craft remained in Valentine until Monday evening, May 9, when it took off from Miller Field at 7:21 p.m., then landed at Millard in Omaha at 8:04 p.m. N417Q departed Omaha that evening at 8:23 p.m. and returned to base in Watertown at 9:11 p.m. The jet left Watertown Tuesday morning, May 10, at 7:26 a.m. and landed at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls at 7:47 a.m. N417Q spent the workday in Sioux Falls before departing at 5:17 p.m. and landing in Watertown at 5:36 p.m. before the jaunt to Lincoln.

A week earlier, N417Q made two trips from Watertown to Nashville and back, leaving Saturday evening, April 30, and returning Sunday evening, May 1, then heading again to Nashville Monday morning, May 2, staying for about three and a half hours, then returning to Watertown late that afternoon. Nashville happens to be where Governor Noem’s older daughter Kennedy goes to grad school at Belmont University.

According to Camber private charter service, chartering a jet to fly from Huron to Lincoln costs $11,769.


  1. Mark Anderson 2022-05-12 16:31

    She should have given Lew a peck on the cheek.

  2. Bob Newland 2022-05-12 18:48

    No words are really needed. but since I am one to throw in a word when none are needed…

    Could it be that Kristi still can recognize the bells of doom, which may ring at a frequency even her tone-deaf hearing apparatus works?

    This is recommended viewing. Even if those who SHOULD watch it may not be equipped to apprehend its message.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-05-12 19:01

    Mr. Herbster’s libertarian bent on sexual freedoms appears to be lost on some readers here.

  4. Bob Newland 2022-05-12 19:47

    I hope you are just jabbing me in the ribs with a grin, Larry.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-05-12 20:44

    I just did a 2000 mile loop to Vermillion, South Dakota and back again where the number of cattle feedlots in Kansas, Nebraska and eastern Colorado draining the Ogalalla Aquifer is staggering.

    This afternoon Gaia smashed through that entire region.

    It’s not just New Mexico. Disaster fatigue is driving the entire globe into madness.

  6. scott 2022-05-13 06:37

    I’m sure Lewandowski and Noem did not want to be seen leaving together.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-13 06:45

    Note the flight information I appended to the post this morning. It appears Noem spent the night in Lincoln.

  8. Joe 2022-05-13 11:46

    Did Lew borrow one of Kowgirl Kristi’s hats?

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-13 12:46

    I don’t think so, Joe. When Lewandowski spoke, he was not wearing a hat.

  10. 96Tears 2022-05-13 15:32

    Maybe Bryon Noem wasn’t aware that Kristi and The Lew were hooking up in Lincoln after her appearance in Huron. I wonder what her alibi was when she skipped out of Huron. Very clever of the Princess to have a staffer Tweet those photos after 10:30 p.m. while she was hanging out in the dark backstage area with The Lew.

    Bryon, maybe you should see an attorney. You’re being cuckholded. You deserve better.

    Great investigative work on the jet, Cory. It tells a provocative story. It’s what news reporters used to do in South Dakota many moons ago.

  11. Bob Newland 2022-05-13 18:42

    96, as far as I can tell, Bryon’s getting exactly what he deserves.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-05-13 19:30

    Good eye, Bob. That diet of gravy taters and poker has made you the sagacious seer we all seek when logic just won’t do it.

    $20 says Mr. Noem gets his needs met with or without his usual spouse.

  13. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-14 15:26

    Scarecely anything makes me laugh lately, but the Herbster squeaking like Chip’n’Dale sucking on helium balloons wrecked me. Better than animal photobombs, kittens gone wild, and Kristi Lynn’s Elvis costumes for her and the world’s ugliest grandchild from last Halloween. I am grateful.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-14 15:34

    Well, he*k. I can’t spell anymore. When I start doing the “covfefe” thing I’ll have a neighbor come over and shoot me.

  15. Patty Jenkins 2022-05-20 15:25

    Good article, glad to read she may have finally figured out shes not going to use the State Jet to get her to her campaign rallies! Sure doesn’t sound like its cheap either! She needs to reimburse the State for her past trips!

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