Noem says some SD voters may be ‘taking freedom for granted.’ Voters react

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:25 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Candidates in South Dakota are making their final push --- as the 2022 campaign enters the home stretch.

In the last week of the campaign, Governor Kristi Noem has been making the assertion that some longtime South Dakota residents may be taking “freedom” for granted, and that is why they’re not voting for her.

“I haven’t met a single person that moved to South Dakota in the last three years that isn’t voting for me and Larry [Rhoden] again,” Noem said at a campaign rally November 2nd. “It’s the folks that have always lived here that are taking their way of life for granted.”

Her Democratic opponent, state representative Jamie Smith was quick to respond on Twitter, saying Noem has no right to insult people who’ve lived in South Dakota all their lives.

He told KOTA Territory News by phone Monday that this is a clear indication that the Noem camp believes this race to be close, and voters will push back at the polls.

“They know who she is, they’ve lived here, they’ve seen her, they’ve watched her work, and they’re tired of it,” Smith said. “They want a Governor that’s focused on them, that’s why they’re not voting for Kristi Noem. They want a Governor that’s focused on the state of South Dakota.”

At her final rally of the Campaign Monday night at The Monument, Noem acknowledged the South Dakota residents who voted her into the Governor’s mansion in 2018, saying they’ve been the example for people who moved here.

“It’s been unique what South Dakota’s done, and it’s because of all of you,” Noem told the crowd of supporters at the rally. “Because of your belief in God, family, and freedom, and your willingness to take personal responsibility as well. Listen, South Dakota has been a shining city on a hill.”

We asked people in Rapid City Monday, what they thought of the comments from the Governor.

Leland Breedlove and his wife moved to Rapid City recently from Oregon .

He’s voting for Noem.

“After living in Oregon for 37 years, we feel like we’ve moved back to America in moving to South Dakota,” Breedlove said. “So, South Dakotans shouldn’t take those freedoms for granted.”

Susan Besancon lives in Hermosa, and has been a South Dakota resident for decades.

She calls Noem’s recent assertions ‘ridiculous.’

“I’ve been in South Dakota for a long time. I think it used to be a lot more even here,” Besancon said. “You had Democratic Governor [Richard] Kniep, Senator [Tom] Daschle, it used to be a lot more balanced between Democrat and Republican, liberal, and conservative. Now, it’s much more one-sided.”

Polls open Tuesday at 7 A.M.