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Kristi Noem squaring off with Nikki Haley could be prelude to 2024 matchup

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appeared to ratio former Trump UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley over a tweet the latter posted regarding a charitable program at a Texas school in what some view as a potential match-up to secure the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“A Texas school dist opened a free grocery store to help disadvantaged students. The student-run store allows students to ‘buy’ essentials without money. ‘If we can make our food pantries look like a grocery store…we can keep dignity in people,’” Haley, considered to be a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, wrote on Twitter.

Haley’s tweet contained a link to a “Today” show story showcasing the initiative by the Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas.

Noem, also a Republican, responded with a graphic that contained a quote from economist Milton Friedman, who said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Some expect both women to vie for the GOP nomination in four years, though neither of them have announced they are interested in running.

Still, the distinctions between the two are already being drawn and will make for interesting speculation among political observers.

Earlier this month, for instance, at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Florida, The New York Times reported that of the two speeches given by each woman, a survey of participants found Noem’s to be better received because Haley criticized President Donald Trump over the Capitol Building riot.

“President Trump has not always chosen the right words,” Haley said, according to Politico, which cited a person familiar with her speech.

“He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time. He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn’t just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history,” she added.

Haley went on to criticize Democrats and big tech for “inflam[ing] the American people’s passions beyond constructive boundaries.”

But she also said Republicans played a role as well, noting “if we are the party of personal responsibility, we need to take personal responsibility.”

“We can and should talk about our major differences,” she said. “But we must stop turning the American people against each other — and this Republican Party must lead the way.”

In terms of presidential ambitions, Haley launched a political action committee last week called Stand for America that will be “laser-focused on the 2022 midterms and electing a conservative force to the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to serve as a bulwark against the liberal agendas of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi,” she told supporters in an email.

The new PAC lists Bradley Crate of Massachusetts as its treasurer; Crate’s firm was the treasurer for Mitt Romney’s two presidential bids (2008 and 2012) and President Trump’s 2016 campaign, the South Carolina-based Post and Courier reported.

Noem meanwhile, blamed the Capitol riots on a lack of civics education in the country as “the root cause,” ABC News reported Friday.

“We have an opportunity to address the root cause of this problem: we must reform young Americans’ civic education,” she noted.

In a column published Jan. 8, two days after the Capitol incursion, Noem wrote that it was wrong to blame the incident on President Trump and Republicans.

“There are many in the media who are eager to blame Republicans for the events that transpired. And there are many in our party who are eager to blame President Trump both for the violence in Washington and for the results of the senate elections in Georgia,” she noted at The Federalist. “But you know what? If that’s all we get out of this, our future will be no different than our past.”

Noem has said her 2024 focus is on remaining South Dakota’s governor.

Jon Dougherty

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