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Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has said she doesn’t think any of the 2024 presidential candidates have a clear path to the White House except for former President Donald Trump.
During a radio interview on Tuesday with KWAT News, Noem declined to endorse any specific Republican presidential candidate but said Trump holds the best chance of winning among the Republican field.
“President Trump is in the race, and right now I don’t see a path to victory for anybody else with him in the race and the situation as it sits today,” Noem said.
Trump is currently the frontrunner in most Republican presidential primary polls. RealClearPolitics has Trump leading the next closest Republican candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by more than 30 points across the average of polls.
DeSantis has led Trump in a few select polls—such as a December USA-Suffolk poll and a January WPA Analytics poll commissioned by Club For Growth—but Trump has held the lead in the RCP polling average and generally expanded that lead since March.
Despite Trump’s current position in the race, Noem cautioned that things could still change this far ahead of the primaries. The first Republican debate is set to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23 and the first primary contest could take place in South Carolina on Feb. 24, 2024.
“I think people should saddle up—it could be a roller coaster of a presidential race,” Noem said.
Trump’s Expanding Polling Lead
Trump led DeSantis by around 15 points in the RCP polling average throughout the month of March. That lead began to expand in April, around the same time Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced criminal charges against the former president, alleging Trump had falsified his business records in order to conceal a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s primary polling lead jumped in a Yahoo! News-YouGov and Reuters/Ipsos polls taken around the time Bragg unsealed his 34-count indictment against Trump. The Trump campaign also reported a spike in donations, taking in $8 million in the four days after Bragg announced the charges.
The former president again touted a jump in his poll numbers and fundraising after Special Counsel Jack Smith brought federal charges against him for allegedly retaining documents containing national defense information and obstructing officials attempting to retrieve those documents.
“As far as this joke of an indictment, it’s a horrible thing. It’s a horrible thing for this country,” Trump said at a June 10 rally following the federal indictment. “I mean, the only good thing about it is it’s driven my poll numbers way up. Can you believe it?”
At the June 10 rally, Trump cited polling leads in the Morning Consult and Clarity Campaign GOP polls, showing him leading DeSantis 56–22 and 59–19 respectively.
Trump also retained the lead over the rest of the 2024 Republican field in a Quinnipiac poll taken immediately after the federal indictment, though his overall support shrank by three points. That survey result showed Trump leading DeSantis 53 to 23. That Quinnipiac poll also saw Trump fall two points in a hypothetical general election matchup against Biden.
The latest Quinnipiac survey has Trump leading DeSantis 49 to 25 in a GOP primary contest while running 47 to 46 against Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup.
Noem’s 2024 Plans
While she did not offer any endorsements, Noem said she’s not currently considering jumping into the 2024 race.
“Wouldn’t that be interesting? If there was South and North Dakota governors running for president?” Noem told KWAT, referencing the recent entry of Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum into the GOP primary field. “But no, right now I am so focused on South Dakota.”
Noem said Burgum is a “great guy” and he had asked her to support his campaign, joking that “we have protected you from Canada for 137 years.”
Noem said Burgum “might do well down in Iowa,” which holds a caucus contest for choosing presidential candidates early on in most primary election cycles.
From NTD news