South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, is expected to endorse former President Donald Trump at a Friday rally in her home state, according to a report from CNN.
The anticipated endorsement created conversations about a potential role for Gov. Noem in Trump’s third White House bid.
Noem expressed reservations about Trump’s candidacy after the 2022 midterm election, stating to The New York Times that she wasn’t convinced he was the GOP’s best chance in 2024.
She has shifted her stance since deciding against a presidential bid herself, the report noted, adding Noem is now showing support for Trump.
The Northwest govenor has maintained a positive relationship with the former president, according to the report, citing sources familiar with their interactions.
Noem’s connection to Trump is strengthened by association with Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager. Lewandowski has advised Noem since 2020 and converses regularly with the former president.
“The fact is, none of them can win as long as Trump’s in the race,” Noem said of the crowded GOP primary field during an appearance on the Fox program “Fox & Friends.”
“And that’s just the facts,” she continued. “So why run if you can’t win?”
Noem has been circumspect about her aspirations for the vice presidency, saying she has not discussed that scenario with the 45th president.
“Of course, I would consider it,” she responded to a question about becoming Trump’s running mate from Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Noem is reportedly viewed by many Republicans as a potential vice-presidential candidate for Trump, should he secure the nomination.
“When [Noem’s] name comes up in conversation, it’s been positive,” an insider close to Trump remarked, the report noted. “She’s been loyal to him. She’s eloquent, she defends him but doesn’t steal the spotlight.”
Noem was considered for the position of Trump’s secretary of agriculture in 2016.
During her 2022 reelection campaign, she strategically ran digital ads in early-voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
She reportedly considered a 2022 run for the U.S. Senate but chose not to challenge GOP Sen. John Thune, even though Trump had publicly encouraged her to do so.
“I think she’s angling to keep all her options open,” said Republican strategist Matt Langston.
“With everything being so fluid on the national stage, she has been very good about pushing her state as an example during Covid and all of these national hot-button issues,” he added. “She’s kept her state at the forefront.”
“She’s got a bright future,” continued Langston. “She’s sticking with Trump, which is smart at this stage.”
As for Trump’s potential running mate, his advisers have emphasized that no serious discussions have taken place. However, Trump himself has been fueling speculation.
“Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President!” Trump posted to his Truth account.
Several Trump allies, including New York Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have also been mentioned as potential vice-presidential candidates, according to CNN.