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Sutton-Noem

Sutton-Noem

The Cook Political Report, an independent, nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns, has changed its rating for South Dakota's governor race to a toss-up between the two major party candidates.

The race pits Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem against Democratic State Sen. Billie Sutton and Libertarian Kurt Evans.

"Given that she has won four statewide elections, Noem should be something of a slam dunk to be the state’s next Governor," wrote the Cook Political Report's Jennifer E. Duffy. "But, Noem is a member of an unpopular majority in an even more unpopular Congress running in a year in which the political environment is less than favorable for her party. After winning the primary, Noem's campaign seemed to take its foot off the gas, seemingly taking the race for granted."

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Duffy described Sutton as "a moderate with a strong personal narrative" and an "appealing presence on television." 

"While Republicans acknowledge that the race is very close today, they believe that the overwhelmingly Republican nature of the state will carry Noem across the finish line," Duffy wrote. "Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they might pull off the upset of the cycle."

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