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Rep. Haugaard will challenge Gov. Noem from the political right in primary

Rep. Steve Haugaard, an ultra-conservative, rural Sioux Falls legislator, has filed gubernatorial campaign paperwork with the Secretary of State, setting up a GOP primary next June.

Steve Haugaard.jpg
Rep. Steve Haugaard
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PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will have a Republican primary challenger from her political right.

Rep. Steve Haugaard, a Republican from rural Minnehaha County and former speaker of the House, has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office portending a run for governor, intending to primary Noem.

The statement of organization filed by the "Haugaard for Governor" statewide candidate committee arrived to the Pierre office on Friday, Nov. 12.

Haugaard stands in the political far-right of South Dakota politics, attending a rally in Sioux Falls last January that also featured a speaker aligned with the alt-right Proud Boys group and becoming known in Pierre as a frequently outspoken advocate of conservative positions on a range of social issues, from abortion to college curriculum to LGBTQ rights .

Haugaard served as speaker of the House between 2019 and 2021 and is part of a group of ultra-conservative legislators in the South Dakota Legislature who have been at odds with Noem during the last year, typified by a fight over her style-and-form veto of a transgender sports ban .

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Last week, the House of Representatives narrowly overcame a protest from its most conservative members -- including a vote of opposition from Haugaard -- in approving the Sparrow redistricting map, which pits some rural Minnehaha County legislators in a primary against one another.

The 65-year-old attorney was first elected in 2014 and is term-limited from running again in the House.

Noem announced her reelection campaign on Friday, touting she'd raised $10 million. A Democrat has yet to announce. A GOP primary will take place on June 7, 2022.

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