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Pre-Primary, Noem Met with Fringe Radicals to Preserve Conservative Cred

Stephen Groves agrees with my assessment that Governor Kristi Noem’s endorsements in South Dakota’s Republican primaries produced, at best, mixed results. In the undercard to his report on Noem’s wobbly primary legs, Groves notes that, to boost her clearly struggling primary prospects, Noem held a secret (certainly not publicized!) meeting with some of the wing-nuttier Republicans in Sioux Falls, the “Patriot Ripple Effect,” to tell them she puts personal connections over conservative principles:

Sensing trouble ahead, Noem tried to minimize damage and maintain her ties with conservatives. The effort included a private meeting in mid-May at a church in Sioux Falls with a group called Patriot Ripple Effect.

Noem seemed eager to convince the dozens of people who filled a conference room at the church that she was like-minded. She pointed to her decision during the COVID-19 pandemic to forgo statewide lockdowns and mask mandates despite plenty of criticism and objections. She also clapped back at Republican lawmakers who pushed sweeping vaccine exemptions, espousing a hands-off approach to government that extends to businesses as much as individuals.

“They were blowing me up saying I wasn’t conservative because I would not come in and tell Sanford (the state’s largest hospital system) and tell big businesses that they couldn’t require vaccines for their employees,” she said. “My answer for them was, ‘You’re telling me as the government to tell them as a private business what to do.’”

Her assertions drew some applause. But their questions mostly challenged Noem, picking at her record throughout the 45-minute meeting. They wanted to know why she would target reliably conservative lawmakers?

“My babysitter’s running for office. I kind of like her,” she responded.

The group continued to press the question, with one member pointing to Noem’s statement backing a challenger to Novstrup, the state senator. Noem’s answer suggested her support for Rachel Dix was based more on personal connection than political ideology: “She’s a friend of mine and has been for years.”

As the primary results crystallized, it became clear the internal party conflict is not going away [Stephen Groves, “Mixed Results as South Dakota’s Noem Intervenes in GOP Races,” AP, 2022.06.12].

Patriot Ripple Effect is a bunch of East River anti-vax election deniers. Their founder, Dave Roetman, has endorsed Ravnsborg crony and DCI director David Natvig‘s mostly hopeless bid for Attorney General. They call transgender inclusivity “insane” arm-twisting. Back in April, whoever runs the group’s Twitter tweeted Luke 12:2—”There is nothing covered up that won’t be exposed and nothing secret that won’t be made known.” Funny they didn’t use their Twitter or their Substack to expose and make known their conversation with the Governor in May.*

And funny that Kristi Noem is so sensitive to criticism that she would grace such a fringe radical group with a special private meeting—even after conspicuously absenting herself from the group’s April 28 candidate forum.

*Update and Correction 17:05 CDT: Patriot Ripple Effect did release a video of the meeting on May 18! Governor Noem brought Lt. Gov. Rhoden with her! Now if they could just afford microphones that work.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-06-14 17:44

    Mr. Roetman makes Betty Olson seem sane and his people make the hand baskets deplorables ride into Helena so Mrs. Noem needs to know how much it costs for hers to be feathered in all the extreme right places.

  2. 96Tears 2022-06-14 17:59

    Noem’s yellow stripe comes through very clearly here. She can’t handle pushback and controversy unless it involves fake pandering to the Taliban Wing of the Republican Party. The worst here is her callous, nakedly craven choice to fail any leadership measures to prevent harm to the public from COVID-19. She admits it was a publicity gimmick in her tax-subsidized quest for the Presidency in a non-presidential election cycle. Ten years ago, that level of evil neglect and entitled contempt for basic public safety would end political careers forever.

    Noem’s cowardice with the little ol’ South Dakota press and even GOP legislators makes me wonder if she’s self-aware enough to know she’ll fall to pieces under the least amount of national media scrutiny. I’m sure the dark money will wipe her away before the first primary is held, like a little poo stain on her designer ripped jeans.

    I wonder which parasitic host The Lew will latch onto once Kristi’s little ego trip gets scrubbed.

  3. P. Aitch 2022-06-14 18:26

    When Covid hit, Noem didn’t know what to do.
    So, she did nothing and labeled it “preserving small government”.
    Is that leadership or negligence?

  4. Richard Schriever 2022-06-14 18:56

    Politics hosted in a church. Call the IRS.

  5. 96Tears 2022-06-14 19:09

    PA – People died wantonly because she encouraged reckless and deadly behavior. I call it criminal negligence. Perhaps politically motivated homicide. It should be Ravnsborg who should be ashamed to appear on the same ballot with America’s Party Girl Kristi Noem. At least, that fool was diddling with his cell phone and didn’t intend to kill someone. She didn’t give a rip who died needlessly as long she was scoring points with whackadoos in Texas, Florida and anywhere else but South Dakota.

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-06-14 19:12

    It’s so tragic and yet it’s still funny. Republican’s like Noem and DeSantis are killers. DeSantis criticized Australia for their covid response. They lost well under 2 thousand people and have a million more people than Florida. Florida has lost over 75,000 people to covid thanks to DeSantis leadership. South Dakota lost more people than all of Australia. Don’t even bother to bring in New Zealand who had the best response to covid, but they really had a leader. Punting the ball is leadership in the radical right Republican party.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-15 17:00

    Kurt and I can agree on that point about Noem. She does not represent any principles other than self-interest. Voters interested in principle, even those at the PRE conclaves, should vote for Jamie Smith for Governor. Stop rewarding hypocrisy: vote Noem out, vote Smith in.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-15 17:42

    Cory..Face it…Noem and Schoenbeck inhabit the fringe…they occasionally try to be discreet about their nonsense but their respect for the rule of law is definitely fringy.

  9. leslie 2022-06-16 08:23

    Our sacred democray is not broken, but Republicans have broken the Republic!

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