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Cultural issues are dominating Gov. Kristi Noem’s agenda as the South Dakota politician ramps up her reelection bid in advance of a possible 2024 campaign for the White House.

Noem late last week enacted legislation banning transgender girls and women from competing against other women and girls, as well as playing on girls’ and women’s athletic teams, in high school and college sports.

The governor said Senate Bill 46 would ensure “fairness in girls’ sports will be protected at both the K-12 and collegiate level.” The law was the first of the 2022 legislative session to receive Noem’s signature and comes nine months before Election Day.

But it follows a string of moves by the governor on cultural issues important to Republican primary voters, both in South Dakota and across the country, that could serve as a springboard for a 2024 presidential bid.

“She’s doing all the right things, keeping an eye on what the base is looking for but also what is practical,” said Luke Martz, a Republican operative in Iowa, the state that neighbors South Dakota to the east.

Noem, 50, established herself as a conservative folk hero in 2020 when she rejected aggressive measures for combating the coronavirus common in many states with both Democratic and Republican governors. She refused to implement face mask mandates and would not shutter businesses or public schools. Publicity from that landed Noem a star-turn as a top traveling surrogate for former President Donald Trump, further increasing the value of her 2024 stock.


The governor’s tenure has not been problem-free. Noem is under investigation by an independent South Dakota oversight board for possibly misusing state-owned aircraft and a possible impropriety in her dealings with a state regulatory agency. Also, before signing SB 46 into law, the governor had shied away from supporting a similar bill, ticking off social conservatives and damaging her reputation for being a Trump-esque culture warrior.

But politically (inside the Republican Party, at least), Noem appears on firmer footing in recent months after unveiling several proposals to advance conservative reforms on issues critically important to the GOP base.

In January, the governor proposed two bills to curtail abortions. The first would ban the procedure once a heartbeat was detected in the womb; the second would “ban telemedicine abortions in South Dakota.” Also last month, Noem, a former congresswoman, proposed legislation “guaranteeing” medical and religious exemptions from the coronavirus vaccine for private-sector workers facing mandates from their employers to get the shot.

Last fall, Noem joined other Republicans suing the administration in federal court to block private sector COVID-19 vaccine mandates implemented by President Joe Biden. Also last fall, Noem set aside standards for teaching history proposed by South Dakota’s education department and initiated an overhaul. In a statement at the time, the governor did not specifically criticize “critical race theory,” but her comments suggested an intent to cleanse public schools of any such curriculum.

“Our kids deserve to learn both America’s and South Dakota’s true and honest history, taught in a balanced context that doesn’t pit our children against each other on the basis of race, sex, or background,” she said. A Noem spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Noem’s appeal as a small-state chief executive running for national is unclear, especially in a Republican primary in which several of the candidates expected to run are likely to agree with her on cultural issues and possibly have governing records to match. But what is clear is that Noem is practically a shoo-in for reelection in 2022. South Dakota is majority Republican, and the governor has largely satisfied the state’s voters during her first term.

Noem’s handling of the coronavirus was well received, her positions and approach to governing vis-a-vis cultural issues reflect her state, and economically, South Dakota weathered the pandemic better than states that enacted strict mitigation measures. However, critics say the governor’s libertarian COVID-19 philosophy resulted in more deaths in South Dakota from the disease than would have occurred otherwise.


Michael Card, a political science professor at the University of South Dakota and an expert on state politics, said Noem has another advantage propelling her to a second term in the governor’s mansion: She is a skilled retail politician, and most Republican voters in the state genuinely like her.

“She does fit the state very well,” Card said. “She’s very personable.”

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Alyssa Farah Griffin Says DOJ May Have Just Handed Trump the Presidency in 2024 with FBI Raid

Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin said on CNN today that the Department of Justice may have “handed” Donald Trump the Republican nomination and possibly the presidency in 2024 with its FBI raid of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla.

“This, I’m hoping, goes beyond simply not complying with some archiving laws, or DOJ just handed Donald Trump the Republican nominee and potentially the presidency,” she said while appearing in a segment with New Day’s John Berman and Brianna Keilar. “If it’s seen as some sort of massive overreach and not something incredibly serious, this is a very good day for Donald Trump.”

The search warrant, which was executed on Monday, came as part of an investigation into Trump’s handling of presidential documents, including classified material, according to CNN and Politico. Trump broke the news himself on his Truth Social channel, saying that his “beautiful home” was “currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”

Trump also added that these are “dark times” for our country and complained that the agents “broke into” his safe.

In another Truth Social post, Trump shared what seemed like a 2024 campaign ad in which he said that “we are a nation that has weaponized its law enforcement against the opposing political party like never before.”

Griffin, who was recently named the permanent replacement for Meghan McCain’s conservative seat on The View, took note of Trump’s appetite to use this situation to his advantage.

“[Trump] was ready to go,” Griffin said. “And actually I’ve seen quite, sort of aligned messaging among Republicans… I think he’s having a good day as of now, so I hope DOJ is buttoned up on this.”

“He knows how to play this up in his favor,” she said.

Watch above via CNN.

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