Donald J. Trump will be in South Dakota on Friday to attend a fundraiser for the Mount Rushmore State Republican Party. It is likely that he will leave the state with an endorsement from the Republican Governor. Kristi Noem.
Sources close to the Governor stated that they believed an endorsement would be given as soon as the Governor puts herself forward for a position of seniority in the Trump administration, and possibly vice president.
Noem was elected as a first-term congressman in 2010 during the Tea Party Wave. She became the first woman to be elected governor of the state in 2018. There was speculation earlier in the cycle that Noem would run for president herself after she won her second term with ease in 2022.
Although they shared the same conservatism and served together in Congress, Gov. Ron DeSantis has treated the Noem court as a rival.
President Trump meeting now with new governors-elect + a few Cabinet secretaries. Governors are each introducing themselves and thanking Trump for his support pic.twitter.com/fwOveTJABQ
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) December 13, 2018
DeSantis is more popular with other governors than Noem, who has been close to Trump and had some of her advisers and consultants work for him. Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is the only Republican governor who has endorsed DeSantis. Kevin Sitt is a Florida native, but he has a natural rapport with Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, and Chris Sununu from New Hampshire.
The three governors are all aloof from Trump. This is surprising because two of them led states that are critical for early caucuses and primaries, while the third was Trump’s press secretary.
S.D. GOP sells out Monument Center Trump rally.
John Wiik of the State GOP said that the most memorable thing about Friday’s rally was having Trump speak, but it didn’t have to just be Trump.
He said, “Well, South Dakota is a small, late-primary state, and being able to participate in the national conversation has generated a great deal of excitement for the Republican rank-and-file.”
He said, “An old family friend whom I have known for generations suddenly called me.”
The senator recalled that the friend had told him, “I don’t know how you managed to do this.” This is the most cool thing I have seen in South Dakota for a decade.
Wiik stated, “He is just blown away and I have never seen him as a Trump fan.”
The rally will be held at Rapid City’s Monument Center. It is sold out. First 6,000 tickets, then 900 additional tickets were sold until the total number of tickets reached 7,000.
He said: “We asked many of the top presidential candidates to come and President Trump responded and helped us.” “We are very persuasive in South Dakota.”
Wiik ran for party chairman in January with the aim of electing more Republicans.
He said, “We needed to think outside the box in terms of how we raise money. As a county chair, I have had some very successful Lincoln Day events and dinners.”
He claimed that the original plan had been to invite Trump as a speaker at a gala or dinner.
“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.”
Wiik explained that it was better to hold the rally now that Trump would be coming.
The chairman stated that as the evening progressed and President Trump agreed, it was clear that he liked to share his message with the public. “We turned it into more of a rally-style event rather than a small and isolated dinner.”
He said, “We wanted to see as many people as we could attend and take part in seeing the former President and the current number-one presidential candidate on our Republican ticket.”
He said: “Naturally I went back to my own ideas to create an event that would attract more people. If everyone gives us a small amount of money, we don’t have to ask for much.”
“This is not meant to just be a Trump rally. This is an attempt to create a unifying occasion for all Republicans in South Dakota.”