Jackley, Noem or Mickelson: Where will Senator Thune come in on the 2018 GOP race for Governor?

If you know me, you know I sometimes like to stir the pot a bit.

And when it comes to the race for Governor in 2018, I enjoy the chatter on these posts, because it’s already inflaming the passions of political prognosticators. So, posts on the topic tend to stir the pot alot.

One question that’s come to mind recently is questioning where US Senator John Thune’s allegiances are going to lie in the upcoming Gubernatorial race. Because he has ties to all three of the major candidates vying for the big prize.

If you know Attorney General (And 2018 contender) Marty Jackley, you know he came to the Attorney Generals office by way of serving as the US Attorney for South Dakota during the Bush Years. Who nominated him for the office in 2006?

Newly minted US Senator John Thune, of course:

The White House on Thursday nominated Rapid City lawyer Marty Jackley as U.S. Marty Jackleyattorney for South Dakota, filling a post that has been open for more than a year.

The state has been without a permanent U.S. attorney since James McMahon left the office early last year to return to private practice. As the state’s only Republican senator, U.S. Sen. John Thune has been responsible for sending the candidate’s name to President Bush, who then nominates the person for confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Read that here.

Kristi Noem, South Dakota’s current Congresswoman is spoken about contender for the Governor’s mansion in 2018, but of course she has this years’ congressional contest to get past first.   As one third of the Washington delegation, she clearly has a strong working relationship with the good Senator.

In fact, it’s so strong a relationship this year that they’re share a key staffer, Josh Shields. Josh is currently managing Senator Thune’s campaign, and managed Kristi Noem’s 2010 campaign to victory over incumbent Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Shields also used to be Noem’s Communications Director.kristi noem headshot May 21 2014

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has hired Joshua Shields to be his campaign manager, the aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call Tuesday.

Shields is a South Dakota native who worked on Thune’s 2002 and 2004 races and in his Senate office.

In 2010, he was the campaign manager for Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., in her first bid for Congress against former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Read that here.

And finally, here’s one I noticed the other day when I was perusing the latest FEC filings from the MICKELSON, G. MARK_bcard_clipcandidates, specifically in reference to 2018 Gubernatorial contender Mark Mickelson.

If you’re not familiar with Senator Thune’s campaign organization, officially, it’s called Friends of John Thune – and it has been his primary campaign committee for years.

Who is the treasurer for the long-standing political wing of the Thune organization? Someone with a particularly close association with State Representative Mickelson…. and one who might just be First Lady after the 2018 election:

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 9.01.06 AM

So, which candidate will Senator Thune pick for the 2016 election? They’re all pretty darned good.

To answer the question, in all seriousness, it’s most likely that the Senator will defer to the GOP electorate at large & let them pick who they will.

And in any case, I suspect it will be easy for Senator Thune to support whoever wins, especially since they all have a long history together, no matter which one wins the primary!

18 Replies to “Jackley, Noem or Mickelson: Where will Senator Thune come in on the 2018 GOP race for Governor?”

  1. Anonymous

    Welp, I’d say he either goes Jackley or Mickelson for governor and Noem for House. She’s staying put. Which is good. We need strong conservative women in congress right now.

    1. Anony

      I think Noem could win easily if she decided to run for Governor. She has ran state wide and is supported both east and west river.

  2. Anonymous

    He will stay out of it like he always does. No one will do anything until Noem is in or out but after that his advisers will do what they always do and meddle behind the scenes with donors and tell them where to go. They will be friendly to Jackley to his face but make no mistake that Mickelson is there guy all the way.

    They will hope a third candidate gets in that is more conservative so Jackley’s support gets weakened and the moderates stay with Mickelson.

    1. Anonymous

      Stay out it like he always does? Did you forget how he endorsed Rounds in the primary and saved his a$$ during the general? The Thune machine never sits one out.

      1. Anony

        If Mickelson’s wife is Thune’s Treasurer it’s not a stretch to think Thune is picking sides.

  3. Kelly Lieberg

    How about as Govenor ? Then he could pick his replacement ! King AND King maker !

    1. Anonymous

      That’s why Rounds is one to watch. If Kristi passes then Rounds could run and appoint his successor. Maybe Daugaard.

      35-40% of republican voters are always going to be with him.

      Does Kristi thinks she can beat Mickelson or Jackley. She shied away from running for senate.

    2. Anonymous

      I agree. I could definitely see Senator Thune running and easily being elected Governor. Having been a well respected Senator, who served in key leadership positions and then a highly successful Governor, he would be even more competitive in a bid for President or as a Vice-President pick. This will be especially attractive to him if Hillary is elected or if Republicans lose the Senate. Senator Thune wants to be where he can make the most difference for South Dakota. Governor just may be that position.

      1. Anonymous

        In keeping with Pat’s desire to stir the pot, let’s go a step further. Then Governor Thune appoints newly re-elected Rep. Noem to be Senator Noem, ultimately securing the Senate position for years to come. He then appoints Mickelson, Jackley, Michels or Daugaard to be South Dakota’s lone Representative.

        1. Anonymous

          The Governor can appoint a senator but not a representative. A special election would be held for a house vacancy because that person is a representative of the people, not the state.

  4. Anonymous

    I’m less interested in knowing who Thune will support and more interested to know who Daugaard and Rounds support since they have been governor.

    I still think Rounds might run again.

  5. Gov 2018

    Daugaard and Thune are both supporting Mickelson. That’s a lot of money behind him. It will be tough for Jackley to compete with him in the money race.