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Ohio Company That Made Noem’s 2022 Political Ads Gets $5M State Contract for Noem-Plumber Ads

Ben Yoho is CEO of Strategy Group Company, an Ohio political ad firm that worked on Governor Kristi Noem’s 2022 reëlection campaign. Yoho’s firm came up with Noem’s horsey ads and features Her Horseyness on its home page:

Strategy Group Company, home page, screen cap 2023.10.05.
Strategy Group Company, home page, screen cap 2023.10.05.

Yoho came to Pierre for “his friend” Noem’s second inauguration:

Ben Yoho, tweets from Gov. Kristi Noem's second inauguration, Pierre, SD, 2023.01.07.
Ben Yoho, tweets from Gov. Kristi Noem’s second inauguration, Pierre, SD, 2023.01.07. Update 2023.10.26: Note that the second and third photos were taken from Yoho’s seat in the audience in the Second Floor West Wing corridor immediately to Corey Lewandowski’s right.

Yoho is now running fellow Ohio native Vivek Ramaswamy’s Presidential campaign. But he also has a nice $5-million side gig making Noem’s vanity videos for her worker recruitment campaign. Yoho is doing that business under the flag of “Go West Media,” the fictitious name for Strategic Media Placement, part of Strategy Group Company.

Patrick Lalley notes that Yoho filed to incorporate SMP and created GWM as SGC’s DBA in South Dakota just a few days after Noem’s inauguration and just a couple days before the Governor’s Office of Economic Development called for bids on Noem’s worker recruitment campaign:

After the inauguration on Jan. 7, however, the official relationship shifted from that of political media consultant to state contractor, from getting paid by political donors, to getting paid by taxpayers. That’s when two entities associated with Yoho registered with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office.

On Jan. 11, Strategic Media Placement received authority to operate in South Dakota as an out-of-state company.

On Jan. 12, Go West Media was recognized with a “doing business as” designation for Strategic Media Placement.

The request for proposals for Freedom Works Here was published the next day, Jan. 13, with an anticipated decision before March 10.

Go West Media was awarded the contract, which Yoho signed on April 13, from a group of seven proposals.

Steve Westra, who was GOED commissioner at the time, signed the contract on May 3 [Patrick Lalley, “Ohio Firm Leading ‘Freedom Works Here’ Ad Campaign Intertwined with Gov. Kristi Noem’s Political Ambitions,” Sioux Falls Live, 2023.10.02].

USD poli-sci professor emeritus Dr. Michael Card states the obvious conclusion:

“I think the charitable interpretation would be that she convinced a high-quality advertising person to register his business in South Dakota, and liked his work, and she hired him,” he said. “The less-than-charitable interpretation is that he learned he had to register in South Dakota to get the money” [Lalley, 2023.10.02].

An Ohio firm works for Noem’s political campaign, then beats out South Dakota ad firms for a lucrative state contract. Imagine that.

As Lalley notes, Yoho runs in the same circles as Corey Lewandowski, who has coached Noem in her campaigning, attended her 2023 inauguration, and has signaled support for Ramaswamy.


  1. sx123 2023-10-05

    They overpaid

  2. DaveFN 2023-10-05

    I thought Byron was FIrst Gentleman. The way Yoho has his arm around Kristi makes Bryon look more like best man than her husband.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-10-05

    Yes, it does. Your Governor, while wholly unapproachable, seems often to be very touchable.

  4. jim 2023-10-05

    I knew long before I read Lalley’s article that Lewandowski had to have his hands in this. And, of course, he does. How does Noem’s husband tolerate this?

    If Trump ends up with the nomination and chooses her for a running mate, the truth will come out. The extent of her relationship with Lewandowski and their associations with both Ramaswamy and Trump. It’s all very odd.

  5. Dave Spier 2023-10-05

    At least it is clear Mr. Yoho’s fingers are above the waist and not elsewhere. That reminds me of a dance class I took in college around 1978. The instructor made me move my hand up about 10 inches. I guess that was a ballroom☹ dance and not a bar room dance.

  6. R.+Kolbe 2023-10-05

    If it looks like a Duck
    If it walks like a Duck
    If it quacks like a Duck
    It probably a possum.
    K. Gnome
    ( it’s a trasnanamil )

  7. DaveFN 2023-10-05

    Dave Spier

    Depending where your hands were in the first place, moving them “up about 10 inches” leaves much to the imagination.

  8. Mark B 2023-10-06

    So many serious folks on both right and left have been plugging their noses and counting down the days of her tenure. I just see more fundraising Roasts than Banquets in her ‘in state’ future. Id pay $100 a plate for a Roast in her Dishonor.

  9. R.+Kolbe 2023-12-19

    To me it seems weird
    Our “Fine Governor ” makes ads to promote the quality of S D as a business place no one here is savy enough to do
    ANY state jobs.
    Our advertising agencies suck.
    Our environmental people suck
    ( how many states bounty predators)
    Our colleges suck (they teach CRT)
    Our colleges suck( they don’t know
    How to teach civics { even Sandra
    Day O’Connor’s 25 state course} or
    construct a curriculum)
    Our Good minds can’t assist the Gov
    (Those outstaters are the Smart
    Ones especially when they leave)
    Even used old husbands need new
    Replacements- Carrie Lake says
    Maybe we all should move!

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