This GOP presidential hopeful will headline key annual SC Republican event

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A GOP governor who has banned vaccine passports and sent National Guard members to the southern border will headline an Upstate dinner next month traditionally attended by fervent Republicans.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will headline Congressman Jeff Duncan’s annual Faith & Freedom BBQ fundraiser, the congressman announced Friday.

“Having served with Kristi Noem in Congress, I know first-hand that she is a fighter who believes government was created for the people and that it shouldn’t run our lives,” Duncan said. “I’m proud to have stood by Kristi to fight burdensome taxes and government intrusion, uphold the Second Amendment and ensure our individual liberties are protected.”

Noem, a potential GOP 2024 presidential candidate, has banned vaccine passports in South Dakota and has deployed members of the state’s National Guard to border in Texas.

Noem’s visit to South Carolina, which holds the first in the South primary, gives her an opportunity to test the waters of a potential run.

“Standing on conservative beliefs is more than rhetoric for me,” Noem said. “Whether cutting taxes, supporting foster homes or ensuring you do not need a COVID-19 passport, it’s time conservatives stand together as we fight for the values that created America — not the values of failed Communist regimes.”

Previous speakers at the Faith & Freedom event include former Vice President Mike Pence, Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, and former Governors Scott Walker and Nikki Haley.

Former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford also made an appearance at the event in 2019, when he was briefly campaigning to challenge then-President Donald Trump in the primaries. When he showed up at the barbecue, he was jeered by people in the crowd holding Trump signs.

This year’s event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Anderson Civic Center. Tickets can be purchased at

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