Rep. Noem elected as South Dakota governor

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem has been elected as South Dakota's first female governor.

Noem defeated Democrat State Sen. Billie Sutton in Tuesday's Midterm Election. With 698 of 698 precincts reporting, Noem took 51 percent of the vote, Sutton took 48 percent and Libertarian Kurt Evans took 1 percent.

Noem said she knew it was going to be a close race but was still anxious watching the results come in Tuesday night.

"I don't know if it's hit me yet, but it's going to be a great opportunity for us to do some big things in South Dakota," Noem said. "Everything I do and see is through the eyes of a mom. So when I see those federal dollars coming or money we're leaving on the table, I recognize that that's an opportunity we're missing to really help kids or families be more successful."

She is making history as the first female governor of South Dakota and said it's a humbling and special experience.

"All along throughout this race, I wanted people to vote for me because they believed that I would be the best governor. I hope that's how they made their decision. But absolutely, to be the first female governor is really, really special," she said.

Noem said she does not have a break because as soon as she takes office, the legislative session starts in South Dakota.

Noem plans to have some policies prepared by the next legislative session. Some of the topics she plans to tackle are education, affordable healthcare, affordable housing and the mental health care crisis.

She will officially take office on Jan. 5, 2019.