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Noem Offers More Definite Political Signal than Johnson

Brendan Johnson, alas, is changing jobs. Kristi Noem, alas, is not.

Tony Mangan at KCCR runs two stories of nearly identical and minimal news value on the non-intentions of U.S. Attorney, soon-to-be-just-Citizen Johnson and Congresswoman Noem to run for the offices for which everyone else likes to speculate they are running. Johnson offers the firmer rejection of any political notions:

Brendan Johnson
U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson

Outgoing U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says while others may be thinking about his political future, he is not.

Johnson announced Wednesday that he is resigning March 11 to go into private practice in Sioux Falls. Johnson, the son of retired Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, has long been rumored to be a possible candidate some day for a statewide office.

But Johnson, who has declined in the past to speculate about any such intentions, tells KCCR News that he is not now thinking about that possibility [Tony Mangan, "Johnson Not Thinking about Politics," KCCR Radio, 2015.02.19].

Rep. Noem actually announces her intention to re-up in 2016 and admits she's deciding whether to run for Governor in 2018:

Rep. Kristi Noem
Rep. Kristi Noem

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem says she has received encouragement to run for Governor in 2018, but says it will be some time before she makes a decision on whether to actually run.

...Noem, who was on KCCR Radio Thursday, says there may be opportunities available in the future. But Noem says her current plan is to keep serving in the House and run for re-election in 2016.

The Congresswoman says there is no timetable for a decision on the Governor’s race. Noem says she is not afraid to wait until the last minute to enter a race [Tony Mangan, "Noem Not Thinking about Governor's Race Yet," KCCR Radio, 2015.02.20].

Tony, reread your headline. Noem's words indicate she is thinking about the Governor's race.

An objective reading of the two articles suggests that Noem's statements are bigger political news than Johnson's. But the Republican spin machine, which remains miffed that it didn't get to run all the character assassination it had planned for Johnson in 2014, chooses to focus on the threat they fear from Johnson. Press-release peddler Pat Powers spotlights the Johnson non-article as a "hint" about Johnson's political future while ignoring the Noem news.

Brendan Johnson is going into private practice. Kristi Noem wants another term as a do-nothing Congresswoman and Twitter selfie queen while she teases the electorate and warns other candidates with a reminder that may jump into the 2018 Governor's race late. You tell me which is the bigger, more concrete political news.


  1. Tim 2015.02.22

    They know the low-info majority here will pull the R lever no matter what, however, they can't resist any chance at a little democrat bashing, even if it is bashing a private citizen, he has a prominent last name and that is all that's needed.

  2. larry kurtz 2015.02.22

    Noem: Mangan Ignoring, Likes Future.

  3. Loren 2015.02.22

    Interesting that a do-nothing congresswoman would be thinking of an executive position. Then again, in SD, actually having done something is not a requirement for elective office - evidently! It's how you look in tight jeans standing next to a horse!

  4. Nick Nemec 2015.02.22

    The usual suspects are always trotted out. I'd like to expand the list of possibles, in my book Silvia Christen is one of the most promising young 30 somethings in SD. She's served for several years as the executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and before that worked for Dakota Rural Action. She really proved herself during Winter Storm Atlas in October 2013. When a record breaking winter storm hit western SD Kristi Noem was more concerned about the government shutdown preventing tourists from visiting Mount Rushmore, Governor Dennis Daugaard was AWOL for days after the storm. Silvia was on the phone with her member ranchers while the storm still raged, learning the extent of the storm and then with State and Federal authorities after the storm first requesting and then demanding help. She then organized the Rancher Relief Fund that raised millions in private donations to help the hardest hit ranchers get back on their feet. Her people skills and willingness to roll up her sleeves and go to work as a forceful spokesperson in a male dominated industry are impressive. She deserves a look.

  5. Bob Klein 2015.02.22

    And it doesn't hurt that Sylvia's credibility is high among her members, who aren't known for supporting anyone who's ever supported Dems.

  6. Paul Seamans 2015.02.22

    I would vote for Silvia in a heartbeat.

  7. grudznick 2015.02.22

    If Ms. Noem runs for governor we might have a female governor like some other states had. She might get South Dakota on Saturday Live which young Mr. Laterall will not do if he runs for governor.

  8. Rorschach 2015.02.22

    The Democratic Party is waiting for Godot. He will not come today but surely tomorrow. Surely tomorrow. In the meantime the party ought to seek out, develop, and fully back other talented individuals for statewide office like Sylvia Christen.

  9. 96Tears 2015.02.22

    If people are willing to jump the fence to vote Democrat in this state, name identification is the name of the game. The only reason I am aware of Silvia is because I pay attention to farm and ranch news. If you surveyed 1,000 people in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Aberdeen, I would be stunned if she'd have more than 1 percent name recognition at this time.

    If Silvia's backers are interested in having her run, start now in earnest.

  10. Tim 2015.02.22

    Agree with 96, myself being a city person I have never heard of her, maybe she is someone we city people should be meeting.

  11. Nick Nemec 2015.02.22

    I have no idea if Silvia is running for anything, but she is an exciting, articulate, young professional who deserves a look. She has actual experience outside of government unlike some of the boys on the bus in Pierre who graduated from College Republicans and moved straight into a state government job in Pierre.

    We need to identify others like her.

  12. Tim 2015.02.22

    Nick, problem is, not many have a desire to have family and friends sliced and diced by the right wing propaganda machine. Not until we learn to slice and dice will that change.

  13. mike from iowa 2015.02.22

    Silvia is obviously a Socialist if she helped raise funds for ranchers. Wingnuts won't like that at all.,unless they benefit from it and can keep it kwiet.! SHHHHH!!!

  14. Nick Nemec 2015.02.22

    Sadly you're right Tim, any run for office brings out the butt sniffing attack dogs.

  15. mike from iowa 2015.02.22

    Maybe she needs some chutzpah to get her message out there. Example of chutzpah,the owner of one of the largest air,soil and water polluters in America swearing koch industries doesn't pollute-

    harles Koch, the 78-year-old CEO and chairman of the board of Koch Industries, is inarguably a business savant. He presents himself as a man of moral clarity and high integrity. "The role of business is to produce products and services in a way that makes people's lives better," he said recently. "It cannot do so if it is injuring people and harming the environment in the process."

    This guy has big,brass balls.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

  16. Bob Newland 2015.02.22

    All of us think Kristi is very pretty. She has done or said nothing during her life that I have heard or read that makes me think there is any more to her substance than being an object of momentary desire.

  17. Rorschach 2015.02.22

    If the Democratic Party believes the purpose of its existence is to simply stand immobilized waiting on one or two risk-averse millionaire non-candidates to quit taking and to start giving back then it will continue to hemorrhage voters and lose elections. Is this really what voters want from the Democratic Party? I don't think so. That was not the key to the Democratic Party's past success in SD, and it certainly is not the key to the Republican Party's current domination.

    The next SDDP executive director needs to be a grassroots organizer in the mold of George McGovern registering voters, signing voters up to receive absentee ballots automatically every election, and recruiting candidates for lower office to build a farm team.

    If my words afflict the comfortable then so be it.

  18. Winston 2015.02.22

    Apparently, Noem doesn't understand why the DC Republicans put her on the Ways and Means Committee.

    It was done to give her a facade of substance in order to hold the seat for her and the Republicans.

    If the Democrats in the near future regain control of the US House, it most likely can only be done through the retaking of House seats like the SD At-large congressional seat.

    Noem's naive gubernatorial ambitions would throw a monkey wrench into the DC Republican plans for Noem and their continual majority strategy.

    My guess is someone will get to her and let her know what her Republican duties and expectations are; but if she refuses to listen then its an open seat for Brendan in '18 (who would be heavily favored), and throwing Noem into the '18 Republican gubernatorial free-for-all would definitely work to Huether's advantage…. Maybe naively, however, she will do what is best….for the Democrats that is…... ;-)

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.22

    Keep afflicting, R. We can only hope that such prodding will help flush out more folks to join Silvia on the list Nick rightly says we need. She sounds like an interesting candidate, Nick, just the kind of woman with real leadership experience whom we would need to beat back Kristi's cult-of-personality campaign, should it come to fruition.

    Loren, you are right that Noem's do-nothingness would make her a terrible choice for Governor. But remember: Republicans aren't looking for someone who can do the job we think a Governor should do. They are looking for someone who can take pretty pictures, raise lots of money, and keep a Democrat from winning. Put her on the second floor, and the SDGOP will make sure she has old guard handlers to maintain the status quo.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.22

    Winston, you're absolutely right about the façadery of Noem's DC position. I wonder to what extent she recognizes the reality of role?

  21. grudznick 2015.02.22

    Mr. H, I bet you all Governors need to have quality staff. All elected fellows do. That's what pooched Mr. Gant. For instance, if Ms. Wismer were elected Governor she would have needed people like you and others to help her make all the decisions she knows nothing about but you do.

  22. Joan Brown 2015.02.22

    Men might think Noem is very pretty, but I don't know any women that do. Actually the women that I know compare the things that come out of her mouth to the jokes we hear about blondes.

  23. Winston 2015.02.22

    Cory, she probably thinks it has to do with the DC Metro System…. (Ways? and Means?… Where are the route maps and how do I pay my fare?)

    But seriously, since it is a potentially taxing committee and as a part of the majority party she will have to watch her committee votes closely, or else we all will be doing it for her.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.22

    Joan, are the women from whom you hear that sentiment voting accordingly?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.22

    Grudz, there is a difference between the quality staff every great leader needs and the Rasputin/Cheney/man-behind-the-curtain Noem would need to govern credibly.

  26. Jana 2015.02.22

    Grudz...see if you can draw a straight line between staff and election efforts...then get back to us. After you do that, draw a straight line to people in power with the major donors to the GOP.

    You will get back to us on that...right?

  27. Jana 2015.02.22

    The GOP is so inbred now that genetic purity is almost perfected to it's greatest harm.

  28. leslie 2015.02.22

    catch her 5 mins. interrogating the IRS commissioner in committee hg., on her twitter page 2/12 i think. she's slammed on 21 questions and yet interrupts 5-6 times.

  29. Les 2015.02.22

    Sylvia is a class act not afraid of the heavy lifting. I wouldn't wish the fight on her but if she's up to it, I would support her.

  30. Jana 2015.02.22

    My desire to listen to Rep. Noem is right up there with hearing fingernails on a blackboard. Did she address her alternative to the taxes that pay her salary and fund her family through crop insurance subsidies and farm entitlements?

    Heck, her passion against taxes could defund South Dakota altogether...but she isn't worried about that.

  31. Jana 2015.02.22

    Cory, I admit i didn't watch the video.

    Was she chatting on her cell phone? Not that we would have any reason to believe she took her committee assignment any more seriously than a school girl planning her weekend...sorry school girls, you probably have put more thought into Friday and Saturday than Kristi has for the laws that affect the entire country.

  32. mike from iowa 2015.02.23

    Oppose Obama-that is all Noem needs to remember to be a koch bros owned entity of the wingnut persuasion.

    Of course,if Obie was to use reverse psychology on wingnuts,he could get pretty much whatever he wants because once trained to salivate at the sound of a bell,it is hard to untrain them dawgs.

  33. mike from iowa 2015.02.23

    Joan B- Noem is not "THAT" good looking!

  34. CK 2015.02.23

    I look good in jeans next to a horse. Maybe I should run for office...

  35. Bob Newland 2015.02.23

    By all means, CK.

  36. Jenny 2015.02.23

    I looked up some news footage of Silvia Christen and she is impressive - definitely a hard worker, very articulate and bright. She's someone the Dems seriously need to keep in mind. She actually reminded me of NDs Heidi Heitkamp.
    She did grew up on a farm in MO, would that be a problem with South Dakotans? Would she pass the test being she's been here awhile?

  37. Jenny 2015.02.23

    It looks like Brendan Johnson is getting ready.

  38. Nick Nemec 2015.02.23

    While Silvia grew up on a farm in northern Missouri she's been a South Dakotan by choice for many years. I would hope the voters of the State aren't so parochial that an otherwise highly qualified person, who has worked hard on issues and projects of importance to the State, is dismissed simply because of the accident of their place of birth. But, I do expect the butt sniffing attack dogs will try to make it an issue. If you have nothing else to attack a candidate on, make a big deal out of some made up issue. Look no further than the Obama birthers for proof.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.23

    Jenny, I suspect she'd pass my test, but as Nick says, anyone running against her will ply the "lifelong, nth-generation South Dakotan" line.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.23

    CK, we welcome your candidacy! Send me your press release!

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.23

    Jana, there was no phone in the video, but it showed Noem trying to pitch gotcha questions and IRS commissioner Koskinen effectively knocking each one down.

  42. tara volesky 2015.02.23

    CK, you can't run on initials. Put you're name on the ballot.

  43. mike from iowa 2015.02.23

    CK-I wanna picture of your horse.

  44. mike from iowa 2015.02.23

    He/she or it can autograph the picture. I'm good with that.

  45. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.23

    After watching the video and reading her weekly report on the Dump Site, it is clear Noem is attempting to give breath to the made up IRS scandal targeting conservative groups.
    I lost count of how many times the commissioner told her there are not rewards or incentives for IRS seizures.

  46. CLCJM 2015.02.23

    Good explanation of Noem's video. And the second link was her comments trying to make it look like the IRS is picking on innocent people although in this case an innocent person did get caught up in the ridiculous drug laws that give the government to seize anybody's money if it "looks" like they might be trying to split up deposits to stay below the $10,000 trigger to be suspected of laundering drug money. And it's right wingers who want to keep these ridiculous drug laws!So if Noem doesn't want the IRS to go after people for this change the drug search and seizure laws! But that ain't gonna happen!

  47. 12 2015.02.24

    A horse in tight jeans looks good next to me.... would that be good enough for me to run? *grin*

  48. leslie 2015.02.24

    the point is, a young beauty can get elected, but how long will it take to acquire wisdom. neither rove nor scott walker have college degrees. kristie and sarah palin barely got theirs. GOP Ill. rep. schock (ab cover photo-mens health/selfie on great wall w/tight jeaned "horse stander" noem) fired his aide who called blacks zoo animals and has not studied ethics, nor did rove, nor walker, nor geo. bush, apprently.

    grudz thinks your staff will stand you up despite your lack of training for a RIGOROUS position of trust.

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