Who will be the next Matt Michels? Kristi’s Lt. Governor pick looming. Let the speculation begin!

It’s been a week since the GOP primary, and we have little more than a week remaining until the GOP Convention is set to begin.

The question on the minds of many Republicans is who will Kristi Noem choose as her “Matt Michels,” the person who will preside over the State Senate, the person who would serve in her staid if she is unable, the person to round out the top of the GOP ticket as her running mate, etc.

Who will Kristi Noem pick as her Lt?

Unlike Democrat Billie Sutton, who is rumored to be trying to grab a Republican, the GOP doesn’t have to poach good candidates; we have them in droves. The big question for us political prognosticators is “which one?”

I suspect there’s a very short list, and we can only guess who will be on it.

If I were to guess, I think the natural choice for many is State Representative Larry Rhoden, who has been a long-time supporter of Kristi. While he’s not exactly from a population center (Union Center, Pop. 86),  Larry did place second in the 2014 Republican Primary for US Senate. And Larry is a tremendously likable guy.

If Kristi was looking more towards Sioux Falls, another choice might be former House Assistant Majority Leader Steve Westra. Again, no stranger to the stump, and tightly woven into the business community in Sioux Falls.

We might also consider former Senate Majority Leader Tim Rave, a long-time confidant of Kristi’s, former Speaker of the SD House, and former chairman of the GOP. Tim, who works for Sanford’s government affairs department, would ease right into leading the Senate.

Any of them would do well for our next Governor. And I’m sure I’m leaving many, many people out who are being discussed.

But that’s what the comment section is for, Who do you anticipate is going to be Noem’s Lt. Governor pick, and why?  The floor is yours!


77 Replies to “Who will be the next Matt Michels? Kristi’s Lt. Governor pick looming. Let the speculation begin!”

  1. Anonymous

    Rave is like a Cheney. He is probably serving on the committee that will select. At the end of the day he’s the best pick.

  2. Tacitus

    These are the three names I have been hearing for over a year. I will be surprised if Rep. Noem does not pick Larry Rhoden as her running-mate, but I do believe there is a chance she selects Tim Rave. Either man would make a great Lieutenant Governor for South Dakota.

  3. Anonymous

    Rave and Rhoden are both outstanding, but Larry Rhoden would be my choice. He would be an outstanding Lieutenant Governor because of his experience and common sense approach to issues. He would also be an excellent future candidate for Governor.

        1. Anonymous

          Uhhh about Marty, I don’t think punting issues back down the chain of command or trying to sweep them under the rug is exactly “common sense approach to issues”

    1. Wow

      NO!! He was not even considered to replace Haggar as Pro Tem. Common sense? Yes. Demeanor and courtesy? No!

  4. Troy Jones

    Ignoring any compatibility issues (only Noem can judge that), the best raw political power choices are:

    Senator Alan Solano, RC
    Representative Mark Mickelson, SF

    Because of the plethora of really good choices, there are probably 10 sleeper picks.

    1. JK

      Solano? This is a joke right? The guy has no influence in his own caucus and his name recognition is probably about 5%.

  5. anon

    I don’t think about who would be a good Lt. Governor. I think about who would be the best Governor. For me, Rhoden and Rave would be a great #2 person as Lt. Governor. I’m not so sure on either being Governor, however. I mean no disrespect – they are great options for Lt. but there are better options for someone to actually run the government. Mickelson for instance. Lust. Russ Olson.
    Westra — maybe — but I don’t like the fact that he resigned very quickly from his legislative seat — I just don’t know that he has a servants heart.

  6. Anonymous

    The hardest part is Kristi really doesn’t have any flaws.

    So best to pick someone to govern, but she did say int he Wooster article that the person would have a lessor role than Michaels currently has with this administration.

    1. Anonymous

      Ted Hustead. His brother-in-law Steve Kirby already did it 25 years ago. Why not give Teddy a chance also?

      1. Anonymous

        Because what the **** does Ted Hustead know about being Lt. Governor.???? Great guy, backs all the best politicians, has tremendous influence over the state, why would he ruin that by failing as Lt Gov?

  7. Anonymous

    Dana Dykhouse would be a great pick. He would be a huge asset to the state. Probably wouldn’t do it. Hard to imagine him running the senate every day.

    Lee Qualm deserves consideration too. A quality guy and well liked.

    Mickelson probably wouldn’t do it either and he’s not exactly a “second chair” personality! Maybe Cynthia Mickelson. They supported Kristi. Marks various ballot measures seem to show that he doesn’t care about being electable anymore.

    I hadn’t heard Alan Solano but he would be a very credible choice. Right wingers might not like him.

    Kent Peterson although Kristi has the farmer angle covered.

    Russ Olson or David Lust – both would be excellent but big Jackley guys which could be good or bad.

    A few more sleepers could be Dave Anderson, Jeff Partridge, Gary Cammack, Larry Tidemann. All good people with strengths and weaknesses.

    1. prairie wind

      About the only individual on that list that I think would be a good Governor is David Lust. Most of the others aren’t bridge builders or they lack the management/leadership experience needed in an executive position. Additionally, almost to a person, that list of individuals also have a political philosophy to the left of Congresswoman Noem.

  8. Anonymous

    How about Pennington sheriff Kevin Thom
    …fills law enforcement need..west river has run. DCI already….thinking outside the box and one of 4 sheriffs that did not endorse Jacklet.

  9. Anonymous

    Andi Fouberg. She’s been active in the state party a long time, a sharp political mind with policy experience, and well known in SDSU circles.

  10. WD

    Larry Rhoden. He can grow a pretty descent stashe. I mean, it might not be as majestic and respect-demanding as Matt Michels’, but it’s close.

    1. Dave R

      He’s got about 10 days to grow a respectable mustache that will inspire awe and confidence in the delegates.

  11. Anonymous

    Rhoden has to be the pick. He’s the only Rep in the state who could grow a moustache before the convention after all. Rave is a solid choice, but I’d prefer Rhoden’s straightforwardness, common sense, and honesty. He seems like the kind of guy who doesn’t always know how to get something done, but he will bite and chomp and spit and kick till he gets it done. Time to start running South Dakota like a ranch and just get the sh*t done. Rhoden will do that.

  12. Troy Jones

    Dana Dykhouse is a game changer. He is in the top ten most visionary people I have ever met, he loves this state as his generosity demonstrates, and he has hired his replacement so he has the time to give to the position. A Governor with someone of this caliber next door can not be ignored.

  13. Anon1

    I like Rhoden, and think he would be an effective choice. However, do you want two ranchers on the same ticket? Politically, someone from Sioux Falls would be the smart choice.

    1. Anonymous

      I think we NEED two ranchers on the ticket. Rhoden is full-fledged country from a town I’ve never heard of in the middle of West River, yet has the wit to do the job and wisdom to spare. If anything, he’ll be great council to Kristi and help her keep her head above the clouds.

  14. Troy Jones

    Rightly, our Governor nominee will pick who she picks for a combination of reasons that are her’s alone. If there are a bunch of delegates who think it is their job to second-guess her decision* and force her to take a second choice, I’d like to know there names because I’d like to look at the ultimate example of hubris.

    1) She is the one who has to live most directly with defeat. She is the one who is charged with knowing how much risk to take with regard to sacrificing one positive attribute for optimizing strength of ticket.**

    2) Nobody picked your spouse for you. In politics, there is no other example more ANALOGOUS to a spousal relationship with regard to sharing thoughts and trust. While unlike your spouse where there is only one, a person who has been around the system as long as Kristi has more than one person (but it isn’t a huge number) with who she can bind. But, there are some, no matter their general merits, with whom she will realize she just can’t bind.

    Based on what I read here (but have no insight to reliability as they are anonymous comments) and heard, Rhoden is the person who passes #2 with flying colors. At the same time, while not a detriment (loony or incompetent, etc.), he brings nothing to the ticket with regard to experiences, perspective, and location.

    *I get the principle the Lt. Governor is nominated by the Governor and selected at convention with the consent/approval of the delegates. But, the reality it is mostly a protection against the Governor candidate picking someone who is so outside the main it hurts the entire party. Kristi Noem will not do so and pretending it to be so belies a person who has no business being a delegate.

    ** It is likely she could pick a nobody or someone who hurts the ticket and still win. But, maybe not. However, there is a big advantage in winning big as it gives one a governing mandate. Do you think Obama would have been bold if he’d have had a margin similar to George W. Bush? Personally, I hope she is thinking “win big” which means she needs to be thinking about who strengthens the ticket and not an easy choice with regard to who she governs with.

    1. enquirer

      agreed. she will pick who she will pick. i tossed out the name david lust on a whim yesterday. when you look at the traditional run of the state’s top executive leadership in recent years, you see those with a top-level command of the legislature’s every facet, from rounds to michels to daugaard. when i scan for people with that level of connection and capability, guys like lust rise to the top. there are easily a dozen people at that level. just moving the discussion along. i forgot to factor in the moustache factor somewhat intentionally.

      1. Troy Jones

        Enquirer, nothing I said was meant to discourage throwing out names or speculation on who she should consider. My comment was directed at those who made a comment someone was unacceptable (e.g. Rhoden, Mickelson, etc.) and they’d oppose them or take it as an insult. She has to live with her pick. Can’t fire them like a cabinet official. Can’t even divorce them like a spouse. It’s her pick.

    2. Anonymous

      We have to go back to 1986 for a close gov election. LG doesn’t matter.

      Mickelson would be a disappointing pick.

  15. anon

    Hustead is indeed an interesting idea. As is Dykhouse. Can’t imagine either would be clamoring for it but who knows?

    1. Troy Jones

      But don’t understand either Ted’s or Dana’s sense of service. If asked, they would both seriously consider it even if they had no desire.

      Further, I don’t like the idea of acting as if the race is over. That is how people get beat.

      Finally, a big win is how one has a mandate.

      LT. Gov. Matters.

      1. Troy Jones

        Oh my. Talk about a typo that changed what I meant.

        I meant to say “do not underestimate”

        Ted and Dana are deep to their core public servants.

        If you want to animate Dana, give him your thoughts on a hard public policy. He will light up with probing questions that belie how deeply he has thought about the issue, probe for your thoughts. And even later send an email on how you are wrong (I presume he sends out emails of when you are right. I just have never gotten one).

        One more thing about Dana. He is always thinking in terms of generations.

        My inkling of Ted is the same. Big thinker only wanting what is best for all.

    1. Anonymous

      Hahahahahahahaha, we’d be better off with Dr. Dolittle. And what connection does Lafleur have to Kristi anyway? When you do what you did you get what you get. Sorry Terry, your odds are none to none. Still think you’re a decent guy though.


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