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Gov. Noem announces her 2022 re-election campaign

Gov. Kristi Noem.

Gov. Kristi Noem says she's kicking off her 2022 re-election campaign with more than $10 million raised since the last election.

"We have been through challenging times but have also accomplished great things together," Noem said in a Friday news release.

The governor said she's running for a second term to continue making improvements.

Noem said she's raised more than $10 million since 2018, which is an unusually large amount for a gubernatorial candidate in South Dakota, especially with a year remaining before the general election. That amount is only $4 million less than all the money spent by candidates for governor in the entire 2018 election cycle.

Tony Venhuizen served as chief of staff for Noem and former Gov. Dennis Daugaard and is also an expert on the history of South Dakota’s governors. He says Noem has already raised more money than any previous candidate for governor.

“I think the state of campaigning — it’s a lot easier for people to get involved and show their support online, on social media. And she certainly has shown that she understands how to run a campaign in the modern environment," Venhuizen said. "It shows that there’s a lot of support for her and that anyone who's thinking of challenging her is going to have an uphill climb. She’s ready to go on this campaign.”

Noem has also been spending campaign money. She has about $6.5 million cash on hand, according to her news release. Formal campaign finance reports from statewide candidates in South Dakota are not due until January.

Daugaard had about $1.7 million cash on hand going into his second term and ended up spending about $2 million, Venhuizen said.

Noem said Joe Desilets is her campaign manager and Chris Hupke is the deputy manager. Both have worked on other Republican campaigns, including President Donald Trump's 2016 election. Hupke previously served as the president of the South Dakota Family Policy Council.

Kennedy Noem, one of Gov. Noem's daughters, is her finance director. Kennedy Noem is obtaining a master's degree in business from Belmont University and previously worked for her mother's administration.

The campaign operations director, Madison Sheahan, previously worked as a policy analyst for the governor and on Trump's campaign.

Noem said her accomplishments so far include embracing fiscal responsibility, protecting freedom, fighting intrusion from the federal government, and investing in education, healthcare, broadband and career opportunities.

"We have the best economy in the nation as well as the best people and quality of life," she said.

Noem is the first person from either major party to declare a candidacy for next year's gubernatorial race.

Arielle Zionts, rural health care correspondent, is based in South Dakota. She primarily covers South Dakota and its neighboring states and tribal nations. Arielle previously worked at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, where she reported on business and economic development.