Will Kristi Noem Endorse Trump Friday?

President Donald J. Trump travels to South Dakota Friday as the guest of the Mount Rushmore State’s Republican Party’s fundraiser rally—and it is very likely he leaves the state with the endorsement from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Sources close to the governor told RedState they believe an endorsement would come as the governor puts herself in the running for a senior position in the next Trump administration and potentially vice president.

Noem came on the national stage as a freshman congressman elected in the 2010 Tea Party Wave, and she was first elected governor in 2018. Earlier in this cycle, there was speculation that she would run for the White House herself after Noem easily won her second term in 2022.

Despite their serving in Congress together and their shared conservatism, operatives in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s orbit have treated the Noem as a rival court. 

While Noem has always been close to Trump, and some of her advisors and consultants have worked for the president, other governors have been more comfortable with DeSantis. The only governor to endorse DeSantis for the GOP presidential nomination is Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Sitt, but the Floridian interacts naturally with Arkansas’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, and New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu

All three of those governors have been aloof from Trump, which is interesting because two governors lead the critical early caucus and primary states, and the other used to work for Trump as press secretary.

S.D. GOP sells out Monument Center Trump rally

State Sen. John Wiik, the chairman of the state’s GOP, told RedState that having Trump speak at Friday’s rally is the biggest thing he can remember, but it did not have to be just Trump.

“Well, we’re a late primary small state, and the fact that we’re able to be included in the national conversation really has a lot of excitement among the rank-and-file Republicans in South Dakota,” he said.

“An old friend I’ve known for generations called me out of the blue,” he said. 

The senator said the friend told him: “I don’t know how you did this. I don’t care how you did this, but this is the coolest thing I’ve seen in South Dakota in a decade.”

Wiik said, “He’s just blown away, and I never viewed him as a Trump supporter.”

The rally is scheduled at Rapid City’s Monument Center, and it is officially sold out—first 6,000 tickets and then 900 more tickets were added until the number of tickets sold topped 7,000.

“We asked a lot of the leading presidential contenders to see who could come, and President Trump answered the call and helped us out,” he said. “We’re very persuasive here in South Dakota.”

Wiik said he ran for chairman in January on the platform of raising professionalism at the party headquarters with the goal of electing more Republicans.

“One thing we needed to do was look out of the box for how we’ve been raising money, and as a county chairman, I’ve had some very successful Lincoln Day dinners and events,” he said. 

He said the original plan was to invite Trump to speak at a dinner or gala. 

“It’s going pretty much be a rally,” the senator said. “It started as a dinner. The whole idea was basically an overblown Lincoln Day dinner, just a large statewide one is where the idea started.”

The word spread that Trump was coming, and Wiik said it just became better to hold a rally.

“As the evening evolved and President Trump agreed to appear, he obviously likes to spread his message in front of people,” the chairman said. “We evolved it more into a rally-style event than to just a small, isolated dinner.”

“We wanted as many people as possible to be able to attend and be part of seeing the former president and the current number one presidential contender on our Republican ticket,” he said. 

“Naturally, I went back to what works best in my mind to come up with an event so we can get more people there, so if everybody gives us a little bit of money, nobody has to give us a lot,” he said. 

“This is meant to be not just a Trump rally; this is trying to be a unifying event for all Republicans in South Dakota.”

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