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Can Ravnsborg Rally Trumpy Base to Beat More Qualified Challengers for A.G. Nod?

Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald. Screen cap from KOTA-TV, 2017.03.16.
Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald. Screen cap from KOTA-TV, 2017.03.16.

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.

On top: Chief Deputy Attorney General Charlie McGuigan. On bottom: Part-Time Deputy Union County State's Attorney Jason Ravnsborg.
On top: Chief Deputy Attorney General Charlie McGuigan. On bottom: Part-Time Deputy Union County State’s Attorney Jason Ravnsborg.

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 agentSteve 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.


  1. grudznick 2017-03-19

    When some of the whackos get rolling, they can get all the folks who are insaner than most to go vote with them. It is really quite frightening to my friends who are members of the Conservatives with Common Sense.

    I predict a Roundsborg sweep in the first round of voting. I do hope the Democratic group can muster somebody better than in the past for this position.

  2. grudznick 2017-03-19

    Both of those fellows appear like fine young men, but Mr. McGuigan looks pretty lawyerly while Mr. Ravnsborg (apologies for the spelling priorly) looks a little like a bullfrog who just swallowed a cecropia moth. I do like how he always has that goofy grin, though.

  3. Bob Newland 2017-03-19

    Ah, the hapless Charlie McGuigan. Butt-boy for SoDak AGs since the days of, oh heck, who remembers? The guy who once stated in committee that there were over 400 Carciginians in cannabis. Probably conflated non-existent citizens of Carcige, wherever that was supposed to be, with the then-popular (and horrible) movie “300.” A lawyer whom I doubt has ever seen the inside of a courtroom, but who has peed alongside hundreds of legislators in the capitol.

  4. Bob Newland 2017-03-19

    And John Fitzgerald, perhaps the stupidest man ever to have gained acceptance to the bar in SoDak. I have no personal experience with Ravnsborg, but his photo portrays him as being somewhat more intelligent than a drunk chipmunk. My money’s on him.

  5. grudznick 2017-03-20

    John and Charlie probably teamed up to try and put my friend Bob in the hoosegow a while back, so I can understand his affinity for Mr. Ravnsborg.

  6. LongTallSally 2017-03-20

    You are correct. McGuigan’s probably never seen the inside of a courtroom.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-03-20

    Bob, hang in there: we’ll find you a Democrat to vote for. Do you have any intel on whether Ravnsborg is any fairer to folks arrested for herbal offenses than the mainstreamers?

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