Kristi Noem: 2012 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Kristi Noem

Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD) is a freshman member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to her election in 2010, she served four years in the state legislature where she was the Assistant Majority Leader. Noem, 40, defeated Secretary of State Chris Nelson in the primary, and in the general election she knocked off one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars, then Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
Noem, is now one of two freshmen elected to the GOP leadership. She is the mother of three children and says “I grew up thinking that I could do anything that the boys could do, and that way of thinking has certainly stayed with me.”
She brings diverse experience to Capitol Hill. She has raised Angus cattle, shown quarter horses, run a hunting operation and headed an insurance agency with her husband, Bryon.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

The Election Wave is Already Crashing in South Dakota

Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's approval rating has fallen by 22%. Sandlin, left, has not made a major mistake, but this is a year in which voters want to send a message. Her GOP opponent, Kristi Noem, right, is emphasizing that Sandlin consistently votes with Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership.

In a poll out today, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) is running nine points behind the GOP’s Kristi Noem, the Deputy Majority Leader in the State House of Representatives. Noem, 38, is at 51% to Sandlin’s 42%.
Sandlin, 39, is an outstanding candidate for the Democrats, and is Co-Chairman of the moderate Congressional Blue Dogs. She is a graduate of Georgetown and its law school, and for years she has emphasized her differences with the national Democratic Party.
Rep. Sandlin insists she is not a liberal, but this year she is having a hard time disguising her voting record. Sandlin’s grandfather was governor, her grandmother was secretary of state and her father was the Democratic Leader in the state legislature for two decades. The Congresswoman is now a three term incumbent who regularly receives over 60% of the vote in a GOP state.
Why is Rep. Sandlin having so much trouble this year? Election analyst Chris Smith, who previously served on the staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, answered this by saying:

Because she’s on the wrong side of an electoral wave. You can talk about Noem’s attractive candidacy all you want, but if it were 2006, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. When people are really angry with the incumbent party, they take it out disproportionately on that party’s moderates, not on its hard-core ideologues. It happens every time.
In 2006, Connecticut voters threw out two of the most moderate Republicans in the House – – Nancy Johnson, who’d served for decades, and Rob Simmons, who had served for three terms. Chris Shays, another long-serving Republican, barely survived, only to be defeated in 2008, another wave year, resulting in a congressional delegation free of Republicans.
This, in spite of the fact that Reps. Johnson, Simmons and Shays all had voted against several of the bills that had angered the voters most. The reason is this: “Swing” or moderate districts are more likely to elect swing candidates. This is particularly true of districts or states such as South Dakota and Connecticut, which vote reliably Republican (SD) or Democratic (CT) in presidential elections but are willing to elect members of the opposing party to Congress.
In a wave election year, however, a swing district or state is the most prone to change its mind about the direction the country should be going and thus replacing its centrist representatives of one party with a more reliable right or left member of the opposing party.