May 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kristi Noem angled for top NRA job

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in April of 2023. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) pitched herself for a top NRA job as early as last fall, two sources told Axios.

Why it matters: Noem offered to step down early as governor for the role, according to a person familiar with her conversation with former NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

  • Late last fall, Noem called LaPierre to advocate to be the next executive vice president or CEO of the gun lobby.
  • Noem is now in a heated PR cycle over passages in her book about shooting her dog and meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The big picture: Noem has long been aligned with the NRA, signing an executive order during its annual conference last year.

  • Her name came up in very senior NRA circles immediately after LaPierre resigned in January, according to a source familiar.
  • LaPierre has little official control over who will be tapped as his successor, but the 76-person board, stocked with many people he nominated, will vote to determine who obtains the position.

Zoom in: Noem was previously seen as a potential contender to be Trump's running mate. She has vehemently defended her decision to shoot her dog, Cricket, arguing the 14-month-old animal was dangerous and untrainable.

The other side: A spokesperson for Noem "unequivocally" denied that the governor had a conversation with LaPierre.

  • "She loves her job as Governor of South Dakota," Ian Fury told Axios.
  • LaPierre, through his lawyer Kent Correll, declined to comment.

Axios has reached out to the NRA for comment.

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