U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will be in Sioux Falls next week to participate in a fundraiser for Rep. Kristi Noem.
The main event takes place Aug. 18 at the Minnehaha Country Club. The breakfast includes a photo reception for participants. The event is by invite only and not open to the public.
“Rep. Noem is glad to host the speaker in South Dakota,” said Noem spokesman Joshua Shields. “They have a strong working relationship, and he respects her independence and her voting record for South Dakota.”
That Boehner, the third most powerful politician in Washington, is coming to South Dakota shows that Noem is vulnerable to losing her seat, said Ben Nesselhuf, the state Democratic chairman.
“The speaker doesn’t waste his time on tier-two races,” Nesselhuf said.
Boehner arrives after negotiating a contentious plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. At one point, Boehner had to pull his plan from a vote because he didn’t have enough support among House Republicans – particularly freshmen members of Noem’s class. Noem is a liaison for the freshman class to the House leadership.
In an interview during the debt debate, Noem said it’s her job to listen to the freshmen but not to whip them for votes.
“The job of a liaison is to sit at the leadership table and tell them what the freshmen think,” she said.
Boehner eventually negotiated a deal, one that Noem supported. She generally has voted with the leadership, but she also has parted ways on issues. For example, she voted to cut funding for a controversial program to build a second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. And she opposed an agriculture appropriations bill because she thought the cuts in the bill were deeper than cuts to other programs.
Democrats locally and nationally have targeted Noem for voting to change the Medicare system for people younger than 55. The measure passed in the House but not the Senate.
“If this is a race about Kristi Noem and her record, she’s in real trouble,” Nesselhuf said.
Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth is expected to run against Noem. Barth said Boehner, Noem and other Republicans are more interested in ousting President Obama than governing the nation. Barth cited the recent declines in the markets following the debt deal as an example.
“I think their number one goal is not the United States and not South Dakota,” Barth said. “It’s to get rid of Barack Obama, and if that means the country goes down the tubes, then so be it.”
Individuals can pay $500 and couples $1,000 for a photo reception and breakfast with Boehner, according to an invitation obtained by Madville Times, a liberal political blog. For breakfast only, the donation amount is $250 per individual and $500 for couples.