South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has long been seen as a rising star within the GOP and is the heavy favorite to win a second term this November easily. She could be a White House contender in 2024 (if former President Trump doesn't run) or 2028.
Noem does have a noteworthy primary challenger in former state House Speaker Steve Haugaard, who attracted attention late last year when he officially launched his campaign to unseat Noem. Attacking her from the right, Haugaard has particularly taken issue with Noem blocking legislation to bar transgender females from competing in women's sports, which the governor said at the time could mean NCAA tournaments could be pulled from the state or South Dakota could even face a civil rights challenge. Haugaard also criticized Noem for now blocking private companies from requiring COVID vaccines for employees.
But on the June 7 primary, Noem will have the most important endorsement that matters in a GOP contest: Trump's support. While Haugaard attracted headlines when he first jumped into the race, he appears to have faded
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