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Noem says she has 'zero plans' to run for president

Gov. Kristi Noem.

Governor Kristi Noem says she has "zero plans" to run for president of the United States.

Noem's COVID-19 pandemic response has skyrocketed the Republican governor's popularity across the country.

Noem took questions Monday from reporters at an event in Spearfish and said she's focused on her gubernatorial re-election campaign. She and Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden are up for election next year.

"I'm running for re-election of governor in South Dakota and I hope you all will keep me," Noem said. "I would love to have your support as Larry and I run again as governor and lieutenant governor and hope we can stay right here at home."

Noem does have a primary challenger: Sioux Falls Republican state representative and former Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard.

Haugaard says Noem has been beholden to special interests and is using the governor's office as a stepping stone.