U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem held a lead of 11 percent against state Attorney General Marty Jackley on April 4, according to an outside poll released Friday to South Dakota news organizations.
They are the candidates for the Republican nomination for governor of South Dakota. Winner of the June 5 primary election faces Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton in November.
Rockbridge Strategy, a Republican political consulting firm, commissioned the survey, according to Kyle Robertson, the company president. Robertson said the firm doesn’t have clients in South Dakota.
Noem had 44 percent support and Jackley was at 33 percent, according to the survey of 500 likely Republican voters. The possible margin of error was 2.9 percent.
Asked why he would conduct the poll, Robertson replied: “It’s an important race. I will probably do more polls in other states.”
“Kristi has been on the road the last few weeks and has been blown away by the groundswell of support she’s received all across South Dakota,” Noem campaign manager Justin Brasell said.
Jackley campaign manager Jason Glodt described the poll as “fake” four times in a six-paragraph news release Friday evening and said the two men engaged in a poll in a different contest years ago where Robertson’s candidate finished in third place.
“Congresswoman Noem is a little late with her April Fools joke,” Glodt said.
Glodt said Robertson previously was a business partner with Brasell.
Robertson responded: “Justin Brasell and I have worked on campaigns together in other states before but we are not working together on this race.”
The Jackley campaign’s statement didn’t make any reference to the numbers in the poll.
Glodt said Brasell and Robertson are still connected. “They are working together on other campaigns as well,” Glodt said.
Brasell stood by the poll.
“While reports like this are encouraging and these numbers are similar to others we’ve seen, Kristi recognizes the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day,” Brasell added. “She will continue working to earn the votes of South Dakotans and sharing her positive vision for South Dakota’s future.”
In a news release announcing the result, Robertson said, “Kristi Noem appears to be doing a great job of communicating her message to South Dakotans.”
Robertson continued, “Marty Jackley’s only path to turning the race around before June 5 may be through a negative ad campaign, but even that is a risky strategy as one would assume his image would take a hit.”