Late last week Noem’s campaign sent out a press release discussing her fundraising for the previous quarter. The numbers indicate that there are only two people the democrats have who could mount a formidable campaign in terms of fundraising, and they are Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin and Brendan Johnson, neither of whom are expected to run this cycle. I also don’t think either could match Noem in fundraising for a congressional campaign or get over the anti-Obama wave that is going to hit South Dakota in 2012.
Which brings me to my other thoughts. Since Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth has already declared his candidacy for the 2012 race, we know that Noem will not go unchallenged as Thune did in 2010. But realistically, how much can a lower tier candidate seriously make Noem spend? If the Democrats cannot make Noem spend money, it will be rolled over to 2014, and she will have a very sizable advantage in the fundraising race if she chooses to run for Senate. Many people talked about Thune running for President because he had $6 million plus in the bank from an unchallenged Senate race that could be transfered to a presidential campaign. If Noem walks away from 2012 with a sizable amount on hand, it will only increase her stature and her potential as a leader in South Dakota.