A stale website domain once used by Governor Kristi Noem to tout her opposition to transgender women and girls competing with members of the opposite sex is now owned by the man seeking her job.
The Jamie Smith campaign for Governor of South Dakota, the Democratic candidate for this year’s gubernatorial election, has purchased the rights to the URL DefendTitleIXNow.com, a website that in March 2021 Noem was using to direct people to a petition supporting federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational programs and activities.
Smith, in an interview with Leader Argus on Wednesday, confirmed that his campaign purchased the rights to the website the day before before redirecting visitors from DefendTitleIXNow.com to his official campaign website.
“We felt that this area is just another example of how it is national policy for Kristi Noem”said the 51-year-old man currently minority leader at the State House of South Dakota. “This is another example of an issue that has been imported into our state from the national level instead of focusing on the tough issues we need to address here in South Dakota.”
From 2021:Governor Noem creates the coalition “Defend Title IX Now” to fight for “equity in women’s sport”
Smith declined to say what the campaign paid for the domain rights.
The Noem administration, which said more than 45,000 signatures were received through the website in April 2021, did not respond to requests for comment regarding the Smith campaign’s acquisition of the domain.
However, Noem spokesman Ian Fury said late Tuesday that the site was never officially owned by Noem or the state of South Dakota.
The website was originally traced to an IP address in Ohio, although the administration has never revealed who created the website, except to say that a supporter built it.
After:Kristi Noem wins Republican Party nomination for 2022 election
At the time, Noem was accused of using the website DefendTitleIXNow.com to deflect criticism she faced from inside the GOP for blocking a proposal that would have banned transgender girls and women from competing against girls and women at sanctioned events in high school and college. take place in the state of South Dakota.
This measure had cleared both the State House and Senate over the winter of 2021 before the Governor clamped down on it using her veto power, which drew national media attention from right and political pundits who accused Noem of giving in to “wake”. particular interests.
Noem signed a similar bill in March of this year, at which time the DefendTitleIXNow.com website continued to be used for its original purpose.
It is not known when the original creator of the site let their rights to the domain expire. The website registrar is GoDaddy.com.
Regardless of the sincerity of Noem’s original intentions for the website or a response to criticism brought about by his veto of the 2021 bill, Smith said transgender athletes gaining unfair advantages in women’s sports in South Dakota were not a problem in the state.
“We spoke with Title IX compliance officers and none of them indicated there was a fairness issue here.”Smith said. “So we thought that by acquiring this web domain, we could make sure people know that there is a leader who supports common sense in the state of South Dakota.”