Noem hires campaign staff and delivers keynote at ND GOP Convention

Congresswoman Noem is gearing up for reelection by hiring a new campaign staff.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                  CONTACT: Tom Erickson

April 3, 2012                                                                                                          (605) 323-8601 (mobile)

Noem Announces Campaign Leadership

Tom Erickson to Manage Campaign, Justin Brasell Named General Consultant

Sioux Falls ? Rep. Kristi Noem announced today the hiring of two senior campaign aides: campaign manager Tom Erickson and general consultant Justin Brasell. Erickson worked closely with the Kristi for Congress campaign in 2010 while working as the Midwest Press Secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Brasell was campaign manager for U.S. Sen. John Thune?s campaign in 2010.

?Tom and Justin are both skilled and experienced strategists who know how to run winning campaigns,? said Rep. Noem. ?With Tom and Justin leading my team, I look forward to continuing to build a statewide network of grassroots supporters that will help me communicate my message and turn out the vote in November.?

Erickson grew up in central Minnesota and attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  In addition to working at the NRCC, Erickson worked as Press Assistant for Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Deputy Communications Director for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and most recently as Communications Director for Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

Aside from managing John Thune?s 2010 re-election campaign, Brasell served as the Midwest Political Director for the NRCC, managed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell?s (R-KY) 2008 re-election campaign, served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and managed Rep. Davis?s 2004 and 2006 campaigns.

Erickson and Brasell join Jessica Arend, who has served as Finance Director for Kristi for Congress since 2010.


Chairman Rave stated back in July to the RCJ “that her winning margin over whomever next year is likely to rival Stephanie Herseth Sandlin?s rout of Bruce Whalen in 2006.”

Rave might not be all that far off considering Tim Johnson won his reelection to the House in 1988 with 71% of the vote, Senator Thune won reelection in 1998 with 75% and Herseth Sandlin won reelection in 2006 with 69%.

One thing to remember though is that Johnson, Thune and Sandlin didn’t defeat an incumbent when they ran for congress the first time. They all ran for an open seat. Naturally when someone defeats an incumbent, there will always be hard feelings and voters who can’t accept defeat.

I’m sure a lot will depend on political climate and her opponent’s ability to fundraise and connect with voters through retail politics, but as of now I’m not seeing a reason to doubt Rave’s bold prediction on the congressional race.

However, if Noem and her staff are interested in a senate run in ’14 a rout of her opponent similar to Johnson, Thune and Herseth Sandlin would go a long way in making that case.

If Rave is going to predict Noem wins with 69% I’m going to predict she wins with 62%. Either way a thorough drubbing of her future Democratic opponent.

I’m looking forward to the campaign!

She was also recently visiting our neighbors up north delivering a keynote address to the North Dakota GOP state convention.

31 Replies to “Noem hires campaign staff and delivers keynote at ND GOP Convention”

  1. Anonymous

    Rave is an idiot for predicting Noem gets 70% of the vote. There is no way she will get that high and it will diminish her.

  2. Anonymous

    “Don’t just complain. Do something about it.” Good advice from Rep. Noem.

    Rep. Noem says she was complaining when she was in the legislature, about a Democratic congress and a Democratic President spending us into bankruptcy. So what did she do about it? She took the money. Rep. Noem voted to take and use all of the stimulus money from the federal government to balance SD’s books. And personally, she took all the farm subsidies she could get.

    She sure does talk a good game while she accepts (both personally and for the state) all the spending she complains about.

    1. insomniac

      I don’t agree with Noem on everything but she isn’t all that bad.

      If we are going to argue about how influential our congressional position is I would argue that it is more of a glamour post that an effective leadership position. If someone chose to stay in that seat for 10 years it might be more important.

      Right now Marty Jackley is actively working to get rid of Obamacare. Noem voted to get rid of it but it was more of a glamor vote.

      Senate, Governor and AG are the real postions in this state that have a lot of power and influence. Congress is more of a mouth piece position. At least Noem says a lot of stuff I agree with.

  3. Arrowhead

    Noem wins easy. The Dems are a joke in SD.

    I love that Brassell is helping Noem now. Does she ever hire anyone who doesn’t come with Thune’s staffs blessing? Just curious.

    Brassell being there tells me one thing. She wants to run for Senate.

      1. 73*

        Why did she slam the SD GOP in her opening remarks? Stupid. I’m a Noem supporter and donor also.

        Stupid, stupid, stupid…

        Who the heck writes what she says? Take away her winging it privaleges.

        1. Walleye Willie

          I’ll bet Rave really lets her have it this one! Oh wait, no he won’t. He’ll crawl back up her rear end and say “You were awesome; the best! May I please have your job when you move on to the Senate?”

  4. Anonymous

    What position does the subsidy queen on farm subsidies is she like Thune both democrats who wont sign on to Tim Johnsons bill , to stop farms from getting over 250 grand is Johnson the true conservative,

  5. Winston

    Historically, incumbent freshman congressional candidates have done
    quite well, with the exception of Clint Roberts, who was forced to run
    against an other incumbent in a newly formed at-large congressional
    seat back in 1982. But what is different about this congressional race is
    that unlike 1976 with Pressler, or 1998 with Thune, or 2006 with Herseth-Sandlin, the challenging party is putting up an apparent credible fight.

    This tenacity on the part of the Democrats will make this race interesting
    and competitive, but they will fall short because the game has changed.
    The Democratic establishment in South Dakota still believes the Dashcle/Johnson playbook works in congressional races. I would argue
    it has hardly ever worked. It worked for Dashcle in 1978 by an initial 14
    vote lead, which Sandlin’s grandmother as SD Secretary of State certified
    in Daschle’s favor which granted him the insurmountable legitimacy in concert with the help of the Democratic Majority in Congress. In 1986,
    we really do not know if it worked for Johnson, because he literally received a bye in his race against Dale Bell. The Johnson/Bell race was
    virtually ignored as everyones’ attention was on the Abdnor/Daschle
    race. In addition, Johnson was fortunate in that year to have a weak
    Republican challenger, who had already lost to Daschle in 1984 rather
    handily, and to Abdnor in the 1980 Republican senatorial primary.
    Bell was seen as a former gas station attendant, current steakhouse owner, whose toupee was known to slide off under the heat of press conference lights. Had the young 29 year old Republican Scott Heidepriem won the 1986 Republican congressional primary, I am not so sure Johnson would have been the victor. In 1996, the SD Democratic congressional playbook definitely did not work for Rick Weiland. In 2002 and 2004, Sandlin’s initial popularity (2002) and eventual success (2004) were not the results of the Democratic playbook, but rather Sandlin’s image as a “Rock Star,” and that is how the game has changed.

    Noem is a “Rock Star.” Thune, Sandlin, Noem, and even Diedrich all
    have or had a “Rock Star” quality about them. Noem will most likely
    prevail in 2012 because neither Barth nor Varilek are “Rock Stars.”

    I do not believe Noem will win in a landslide though, the Medicare
    issue and her Clint Roberts articulateness (as evident by her address before the ND Republican Convention) will help to make this race
    competitive for the Democratic challenger. When it is all said and
    done, I believe that Noem beats Varilek 54/46 or Barth 64/36 because
    of the power of incumbency and Obama’s predictable weak showing in SD this year compared to 2008.

    However, Barth’s unconventional candidacy, bipartisan record, and life story is the Democrats only chance at a “Hail Mary” victory against Noem in a 50/50 race. But since the SD Democratic 1% are backing Varilek, the Democratic party is destine to repeat 1996 rather than 2004 … because Democrats do not understand that the game has changed. There playbook no longer works …. and pretty people now go to Washington too, not just Hollywood.

    1. Anonymous

      Good analysys winston.

      I hope Varilek raises enough money to drain Noem’s funds but I don’t want Varilek to be my congressman. I might be a mediocre Noem supporter these days and wouldn’t mind watching her squirm in a tight one.

      1. Anonymous

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you are not outgoing and articulate you do not have a shot at winning a statewide election in SD.

        Looks matter but in the end they are less important than personality.

        Noem had it and Curd and Nelson didn’t.

        In ’96 Thune had it and Carol Hillard didn’t.

        Look at the GOP constitutionals from last year. Gant had more personal appeal than Bray or Deadrick, Sattgast had more than Mehlhoff, Barnett had more than Miller or Rounds.

        Varilek probably has more than Barth. Niether are SHS or Brendan Johnson.

        At some point voter demographics come in to play like for Governor and then the dems need a rockstar to win.

        Look at the GOP primary for Governor. Daugaard had the charisma over Knudson, Munstermann, Knuppe and Howie. Had Schoenbeck gotten in he would have had the charisma factor on his side.

        We all know who will win a race based on the first impression we have of them. Are they outgoing, confident, articulate and smart?

        I will take all of those above raising money any day because raising money is an easier task if the candidate already has those skills.

        As Blake Curd and Steve Kirby have bothe learned. You cannot buy an election with money if you do not have the ability to connect on a personal level.

        1. Clay Bill

          You actually think Kristi “Stepford” Noem has a personality? Judging from the less than enthusiastic applause from the 12 people who managed stay awake while Kristi was speaking, it appears North Dakotans don’t think so.

  6. 73*

    If Noem is held in the 50’s by Varilek then Noem will be seen as fairly week.

    anything below 60% for Varilek is a win.

    1. Winston

      Varilek and Barth will need an actual victory and not a moral victory to
      matter in the future. This is their one shot before Sandlin reappears (Senate) and Brendan Johnson shows up (House) in 2014.

      1. AVA

        The dems will have to hope they can bipass a brendan shs primary. If they don’t the party will be over before it begins…. Just like smoking weed with Willie Nelson.

  7. Troy Jones

    I pretty much concur moral victories are salve for those who lose and Barth’s odds of getting even a “moral victory” are better. While I don’t know if the counties will change much with regards to which on KN wins, Barth will do better in Minnehaha than Varilek as Barth isknown here as well as hold some rural farmer Dems Varilek seems to have “thrown under the plow” makingthe shellacking just a bit more tolerable for you.

    1. Anonymous

      Barth won’t raise $30,000 in the primary. Why would he have a shot in the general? Where is he going to get money to increase his name id?

  8. Anonymous

    Barth and Varilek are both unknown commodities statewide. Varilek’s ties to the establishment will make it possible for him to compete financially with the incumbent. If Barth wins the primary the race will be written off by national dems, and the money won’t flow to this race. That’s why Varilek is the only one with a chance to beat Noem.

    Varilek’s battle is uphill, but Noem is weak which gives national dems (and their donors) hope. Can Varilek build himself an image as a strong leader, or will he come off as a wishy-washy staffer looking for a promotion beyond his station (like Weiland)?

    In 1996, Thune stood in front of the camera in a field and said this is who I am and this is what I stand for. He looked strong. He looked like a winner. Weiland tried too hard to emulate Daschle and talk talk softly and bob his head in his commercials (kind of like the Scott Hoy lawyer commercials today), and he came off as if he were talking down to the audience like they were children. A candidate has to be confident in their own skin – and project that confidence. Noem does this. Will Varilek?

  9. Anonymous

    At age 89, George McGovern gave a much better speech at the McGovern Day banquet than Noem gave at the ND GOP convention – without using a teleprompter. I suspect that even the attendees of the ND GOP convention would have enjoyed McGovern’s speech more.

    1. AVA

      I don’t doubt it. Noem is a snoozer on the stump. She’s always trying to be folksy. Daugaard is actually pretty darn good as a speaker because he is funny and entertaining.

      1. Anonymous

        I heard Daugaard give a commencement address for USF. He was awkward and recycled his speech. He gave an off color joke that was highly inappropriate for a speech to a Christian institution. People were looking at each other and saying “I can’t believe he just said that.” Not so good.

  10. anooner

    Appears she could have said anything she wanted as nobody was listening. Sounded like the whole room was talking


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