PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Republican Kristi Noem’s campaign hasn’t stopped bringing money in or shipping a lot of it back out since she won the 2018 election for governor.
Since the start of 2019, her campaign fund has raised more than $748,000 and spent more than $526,000, according to finance reports for 2019 and so far for 2020 kept on file at the South Dakota Secretary of State office.
Noem defeated Sutton 172,912 votes to 161,454. Libertarian Kurt Evans had 4,848.
The finish was the closest a Democrat came to defeating a Republican for governor of South Dakota since 1986, when Democrat Lars Herseth lost to Republican George S. Mickelson 141,898 to 152,543 in a battle between two sons of former governors. The most recent Democrat elected governor in South Dakota was Dick Kneip, who won a third term in 1974 but didn’t finish it.
It is not uncommon in South Dakota for a governor, especially one serving a first term and planning to run for re-election, to continue fundraising into the second term. The last South Dakota governor to be defeated for a second term was 50 years ago: Republican Frank Farrar lost to Kneip in 1970.
Neither Noem nor Sutton has contributed to a legislative candidate running this year, according to their reports. Last year Noem gave $5,000 to her lieutenant governor, Larry Rhoden.
Noem served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives and ran for governor rather than seek re-election to a fifth term two years ago. She previously served four years in the state House.
Her latest fundraising email came Monday, when she accused the Democratic presidential ticket of Biden-Harris of planning to raise taxes if elected. Noem is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. She hosted President Donald Trump July 3 at Mount Rushmore.