Republican group in Colorado cancels Kristi Noem fundraiser due to ‘death threats’ amid backlash over her memoir

A county Republican group in Colorado said that it was cancelling a fundraiser featuring South Dakota governor and potential Republican vice presidential contender Kristi Noem after she reportedly described killing her young dog in her forthcoming book.

Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Nancy Pallozzi said in a statement Friday that the group’s fundraising dinner, which was set to take place Saturday, was being cancelled “due to safety concerns” after the group, the governor and her staff, and the hotel hosting the event received “numerous threats and/or death threats.”

“After a conversation with the Governor’s office late Wednesday, we mutually decided that safety was the most important concern for everyone involved,” Pallozzi said. “The Denver West Marriott also received alarming comments and shared with us their deep concern over the safety and security for those attending our event, other guests, and their staff.”

Noem was confirmed to be a keynote speaker at the Jefferson County Republicans’ annual fundraiser in early April after the group sent her an invitation in January, Pallozzi said.

That was before The Guardian released an article late last month that described Noem’s account of leading her 14-month-old dog, Cricket, to a gravel pit to be shot after concluding it was “less than worthless” and “untrainable.”

Pallozzi’s statement noted that her group was “not taking a position on the public outcry on the Governor’s book,” adding that Noem “has, and continues, to stand up for our Constitutional rights, our freedom, and less government, which is the platform of the Republican Party.”

In a phone interview, Pallozzi told NBC News that the decision had not been made lightly.

“We have lost money in this,” Pallozzi said. “This was meant to be a fundraiser, but now we’ve lost thousands of dollars.”

Pallozzi said the group is doing a “full refund” on tickets and that she has 300 copies of Noem’s book that the publisher had given special permission to be released at the event. Noem was also expected to do a signing and take photos.

The group remains in talks with Noem. It is not immediately clear whether the event with the governor will be rescheduled.

A spokesperson for Noem did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment on Friday night.

During a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Noem said that the dog was “extremely dangerous.”

“It had come to us from a family who had found her way too aggressive,” Noem said, continuing that the dog “massacred” a neighbor’s livestock the day it was killed.

Noem had initially responded to criticism about the passages regarding Cricket in a post to X last week, writing, “We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm.” Noem’s social media response was written above a screenshot of the article from The Guardian, which obtained a copy of Noem’s book “No Going Back,” which is set to be released next week.

NBC News has not obtained a copy of Noem’s book or independently verified the account about Noem’s dog that was reported by The Guardian.

Noem has been widely viewed as among Trump’s top picks for a running mate. The South Dakota governor, who has been in office since 2019, previously served in Congress as the state’s lone representative.

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