PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Among the items South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem covers in her autobiography was a phone call that then-state Representative Mark Mickelson made to her in late 2016. But according to Mickelson, what’s in the book was “not quite” what happened.
“She has re-arranged the timing a bit,” Mickelson said.
In the book, Noem says the call came on a Sunday morning, “just a few days” after her announcement on Monday, November 14, 2016, that she would run for the Republican nomination for governor, rather than seek a fifth term in the U.S. House.
“Mark was thinking of getting out of the race. He asked if we could meet,” Noem’s book says. “I said yes.”
Mickelson, a Sioux Falls lawyer, remembers it differently.
“I got out, then she got in,” he said.
He was referring to his own then-candidacy for governor. By late October of 2016, Mickelson had already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars money for his own run. But he then stepped back and changed his mind. By year-end nearly all of the donations were returned, and in 2017 he terminated the account.
Mickelson said he called Noem after her announcement to express his support for her candidacy.
His father, George S. Mickelson, was governor from 1987 through April 19, 1993 and died when the state airplane crashed and killed all eight men. Mark’s grandfather, George T. Mickelson, was governor from 1947 through 1950.
While Noem in the book said Mickelson wanted to meet with her, that’s not what Mickelson remembers.
“I don’t recall requesting to meet or meeting. I encouraged her to run and knew she had been looking at it,” he said.
Contacted for a response, Noem campaign spokesman Ian Fury said, “The governor’s book speaks for itself.”