As political theater goes, it doesn’t get much more fascinating than Thursday night’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Mitchell. The fundraiser drew four of the five GOP candidates for governor and all three of the GOP candidates for U.S. House, plus a bunch of the candidates for other offices. Click here to read our story about it.
The quip of the night, in my opinion, came from U.S. House candidate Kristi Noem when she said "I’m everything Herseth Sandlin says that she is."
There was so much meaning wrapped up in that one little sentence, it could be dissected many different ways. Essentially, though, Noem was saying that she actually is conservative, whereas she thinks Herseth Sandlin merely tries to appear that way.
I’ll be interested to see if Noem takes that statement and makes it a centerpiece of her campaign (maybe she’s already doing it; I’ve heard she’s running TV ads, but I haven’t seen them). If she does, it might be a smart move.
Why? Because people already see Noem as the Republican Herseth Sandlin, just because they’re both young, ambitious, politically minded women. That’s an oversimplification of them as people, but it’s the perception that’s out there. So Noem might as well go with it.
By saying she is "everything Herseth Sandlin says that she is," Noem has created for herself an easily remembered identity. And that’s something that I’m not sure her opponents, Chris Nelson and Blake Curd, will be able to create so readily.