Congresswoman Kristi Noem Elected Governor Of South Dakota

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Jon Brown Associate Editor
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South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem has emerged the victor of the state’s gubernatorial race to become the state’s first female governor, following a close race against Billie Sutton, the South Dakota Senate minority leader and a former professional bronc rider.

Candidate Profiles: Billie Sutton/ YouTube/ KELOLAND News

Candidate Profiles: Billie Sutton/ YouTube/ KELOLAND News

As of mid-October financial reports, Kristi Noem raised $5,589,760.18, which was quite a bit more than Billie Sutton’s $2,636,768.90. Noem also spent more, with $5,033,467.47 of disbursements, compared to Sutton’s $1,995,452.66.

Though polls favored Noem, the race was considered by some to be a toss-up. A four-term congresswoman of South Dakota’s at-large district, Noem is replacing Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who has reached his term limit.

New House of Representative member Kristi Noem poses on steps of U.S. Capitol in Washington

New House of Representative member Kristi Noem (L) poses with her husband, Bryon, on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, November 19, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS) – GM1E6BJ1U7Y01

Noem ran on a platform of preventing tax increases and increased government regulation. “If Billie believed everything that he said in this campaign, he’d be a Republican, but he’s not,” Noem said of her opponent. “He’s a Democrat.”

She has a background in ranching, having left college to help run her family’s ranch when her father died unexpectedly in a farming accident.

Noem was one of the last candidates for whom Vice President Mike Pence rallied on Monday. Together with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Cory Gardner, Pence attended a rally for Noem in Rapid City, South Dakota, saying, “I’d be here if Kristi was unopposed. I just respect her that much.”