A good fifteen months out from the 2018 Republican convention, we have three announced candidates for the SDGOP’s nomination for attorney general. Lawrence County state’s attorney John Fitzgerald announced Thursday that he wants the job Marty Jackley has held since 2009.
Fitzgerald joins chief deputy A.G. Charlie McGuigan and Union County part-time deputy state’s attorney Jason Ravnsborg (who does that job from two counties over, which still defies statutory explanation).
Fitzgerald has been a state’s attorney (Butte County first, then Lawrence County) for 37 years. McGuigan has worked in the A.G.’s office in Pierre for 26 years. Ravnsborg has held his part-time public prosecuting position in Union County since just last June.
One would think that the GOP delegates to next year’s convention would put experience first and choose either of the career prosecutors over a mostly political choice. But be careful, old guard: Fitzgerald, McGuigan, and any other Jackley wannabes sensing their moment could split the sensible vote, and the Trumpy core that made Saudi agent, Steve King pal, and former Union County commissioner Dan Lederman the SDGOP chair could stay united around Islamophobic saber-rattler Ravnsborg. Surrounded by GOP activists who can put fear and slogans over qualifications (see also 2016 Presidential election), Ravnsborg could beat two men who should beat him.
As a Democrat, I would much rather run against Ravnsborg than either of the experienced, qualified Republican choices for A.G. But come on, SDGOP: I’m counting on you to run the best people for the job, not the best rabble-rousers. McGuigan, Fitzgerald, you have 15 months to make nice and figure out who gets to be whose deputy.