As former President Donald Trump considers potential running mates in the event of securing the Republican nomination, the field is becoming increasingly diverse. One thing is clear: Mike Pence is no longer in the running following his rift with Trump.
Many insiders anticipate that Trump may opt for a female vice presidential candidate. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s presidential aspirations are often viewed as a strategic move to secure the role of Trump’s running mate.
Recent reports suggested that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake are in a competitive race to be considered as Trump’s running mate. However, both are perceived as long shots, with indications that Trump may endorse Lake for Arizona’s Senate seat. This decision appears linked to Trump’s perception that Lake is more committed to his claims of election fraud than Greene.
In the midst of this VP speculation, South Dakota Governor Kris Noem has reemerged as a potential contender. Noem, who recently endorsed Trump, expressed her interest in the vice presidential slot if Trump considers her. Notably, she is among the minority of Republican governors (8 out of 26) who have endorsed Trump in the race.
At an endorsement rally, Noem conveyed her support for Trump, describing him as the leader and fighter the country needs. However, her endorsement came with a side note, as three Republican elected officials from South Dakota—U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson—were notably absent and did not endorse Trump, leading to disapproval from the crowd when Noem referenced them.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager, who has had an on-and-off role advising Noem, was present at the speech. According to Politico, Noem has a direct line to Trump through Lewandowski.
Despite some controversies surrounding Lewandowski, his presence and support for Noem are significant. Politico suggests that Noem is positioning herself for the vice presidential selection or potentially as a backup presidential candidate if Trump falters or doesn’t secure the nomination.
While Noem’s national visibility on platforms like Fox News is seen as part of her strategy, one drawback of choosing her as a running mate is that South Dakota, a solidly red state, only carries three electoral votes.