I’ve hearing it from multiple sources over the last couple of days, including at the GOP Senate trapshoot fundraiser, from sources at SDSU where Haugaard was allegedly trying to enter the parade without noting for what office, and other people keep pinging me that former Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard is going to be announcing his candidacy for Governor against Kristi Noem, and possibly will do so in the next few weeks.
This rift between the two seems to have been growing for a while.
Haugaard has been relatively critical of Noem for some time now. There have been direct conflicts, and asides with other parties where he’s expressed criticism of the state’s chief executive.
Most recently, Haugaard was critical of one of the Governor’s signature pieces of legislation, the Freedom Scholarship. After the recent Lincoln County Lincoln Day Dinner, Haugaard had taken a group of College Republicans at the event aside, and I’m told, was explaining why the Scholarship (a measure he voted against) wasn’t the job of State Government.
Predictably, that chat went over like a candy bar in a pool, with a few reaching out to me express their outrage.
You more directly saw the divide when Haugaard banned lobbyist Yvonne Taylor from the House Chamber, which triggered Taylor to file suit, a suit Haugaard eventually cried uncle on. The Governor was most definitely not shy about expressing her opinion of the whole situation.
Tomorrow the legislative executive board will decide who should pay for Speaker Haugaard’s legal bills. The taxpayers or Haugaard?
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 29, 2019
Let’s not forget the ridiculous 2019 legislative dress code for women created by the Haugaard leadership team in the House which dictated that female legislators wear nylons, and were skirts had to be a certain length. Between that and the Taylor lawsuit, at one point Noem called down House leadership to her office, chewed them out, and told them to knock it off.
Ever since Noem took office and Haugaard was sworn in as speaker, it seems that we can just say that the two have been at loggerheads. If this Haugaard announcement rumor holds true, how do I think this race is going to go? As I noted in a previous column in September of last year..
I have the feeling that the concept of Haugaard challenging Noem would literally be the most lopsided mis-match since ex-legislator Lora Hubbel challenged sitting Governor Dennis Daugaard. It wasn’t even an actual campaign, as much as a months-long complaint by Lora that no one took her seriously, and no one would help her.
Like Taffy Howard’s ‘exploration’ against Dusty Johnson & Bruce Whalen/Mark Mowry/Other guy fumbling aimlessly against US Senator Thune, if a Haugaard campaign emerges, it is once again just a manifestation of the hard right fringes of the GOP complaining that a strongly conservative GOP isn’t conservative enough in their own minds.
And I really doubt it’s going to go anywhere. No one competent is getting involved in their campaigns, there’s no depth to fundraising, and it’s just going to be a months long complaint against ‘the establishment.’
The only benefit of the apparent collection of misfit toys who are challenging incumbents is that in recent weeks I’ve seen more business owners and traditional Republicans who have sat on the sidelines over the last few elections are getting motivated, becoming more active, and are deciding it’s way past time that they show up, pitch in, and get involved.
Stay tuned, as this is far from the end of it.