Rep. Kristi Noem, a Republican from South Dakota

Aaron P. Bernstein | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rep. Kristi Noem, a Republican from South Dakota

Republican Rep. Kristi Noem will become governor of South Dakota, defeating Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton after one of the tightest gubernatorial contests of the cycle, NBC News projects.

It’s a boost for Republicans, who are hoping to entrench their majority of governorships nationwide. The two candidates remained within striking distance until the very end.

Noem, who has served in Congress since 2011, entered into the race for governor just six days after winning her most recent election. Her candidacy drew attention from the White House, which dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to South Dakota in the campaign’s final days.