Press "Enter" to skip to content

GOP Attempts to Spin Dem Discord over Seiler’s Cash to Perry & Jackley

Republicans recognize that Randy Seiler, a former U.S. Attorney and the most experienced prosecutor Democrats have fielded as a candidate for attorney general in some time, poses a serious threat to whichever of the less prominent, less well-connected candidates they nominate for that post.

That’s why Extremist Repub insider Pat Powers is trying to provoke purist Democratic delegates to reject Seiler and nominate newly announced candidate Tatewin Means.

Pat’s stir-stick: Seiler donated $250 to Republican Tad Perry in 2014 and $1,000 to Republican Marty Jackley in 2016. Thus…

Dem delegates are no less purists than those attend[sic] the Republican convention. And they may not like the recent big dollar donations, especially to one of the GOP candidates who could be representing the Republican Party in the fall [Pat Powers, “Will Republican Donations Hurt Dem AG Candidate Randy Seiler at Democrat [sic] State Convention?Dakota War College, 2018.04.22].

As usual, the specious question mark in Pat’s blog headlines signifies not a genuine search for information but wishful propagandism.

Democratic support for Perry in Pierre is not surprising. Tad Perry unsuccessfully primaried Jeff Monroe twice in District 24, in 2012 and 2014. In the highly Republican district, Perry ran as a Republican in an attempt to replace culture-warrior Monroe with a more pragmatic and effective legislator. Perry came within 35 votes of ousting Monroe in 2012 and 247 in 2014; Monroe had no Democratic opponent in 2012, and in Democrat Ruth Rehn fell 1,667 votes short of Monroe in the 2014 general. A calculating Democrat could thus conclude that a moderate Republican is a far better bet than a Democrat in for ousting an extremist Republican in District 24.

Seiler’s ten C-notes to Jackley could have arisen from a similar primary calculation. Seiler’s fellow prosecutor Jackley announced for governor right after the November 2016 election. No Democrat had entered the race yet. At the point where the choice was between Jackley and Noem, Democrat Seiler could easily have thought, Good grief, anyone but Noem! And once Billie Sutton jumped in the race, Seiler’s wife Wanda canceled out Randy’s money by giving the Democrat $2,000:

Sutton gubernatorial campaign, supporting documentation to 2017 year-end campaign finance report, 2018.01.22, p. 23.
Sutton gubernatorial campaign, excerpt from supporting documentation to 2017 year-end campaign finance report, 2018.01.22, p. 23.

And if we really need to get into how Seiler spends his political money, let’s take the long view. According to, from 1990 through 2016, Randy Seiler donated $9,250 to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Tim Johnson, Tom Daschle, Barack Obama, and the South Dakota Democratic Party. From 2002 through 2016, Wanda Seiler gave $8,100 to Hillary Clinton, Matt Varilek, SHS, Johnson, and Paula Hawks. Mrs. Seiler gave $500 to Bill Janklow on March 19, 2002, when she worked for the South Dakota Department of Human Services and when her boss Governor Janklow was in a five-way Republican primary.

If money matters, Randy Seiler have given more money to Democrats than Tatewin Means has. The two documented contributions he has given to Republicans (and the one his wife has given) each have potential tactical explanations.

Besides, in her call to me as a convention delegate on Friday, Means spoke of wanting to talk about policy, not politics, which I take as a signal that this sort of specious pot-stirring from Pat Powers isn’t even on her radar. And when Republicans squawk about an issue more than the Democratic candidates at whom that issue is aimed, that’s a pretty good sign it’s not really an issue.


  1. Rorschach 2018-04-22 14:19

    Randy Seiler is a career federal prosecutor who worked in the US Attorney’s Office when Jackley was US Attorney. There is nothing wrong with 2 people from different political parties working together and respecting each other. If Jackley is elected governor and Seiler Attorney General I expect that they will have a good working relationship as they previously did.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-23 07:01

    This contest will make for an interesting convention. Perhaps more instructive than where Seiler and Means have put their money will be who puts their money behind Seiler and Means. Of course, we won’t see that information before convention. Let’s hope that all of those backers will throw in behind the eventual nominee, no matter who it is.

  3. John 2018-04-23 16:07

    Cory, Don’t all AG candidates Demcrat, Republicans or others have to do the pre-primary campaign finance reports even though they are in the convention system?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-23 21:51

    Ah! Good catch, John! Seiler and Means have both filed statements of organization for their campaign committees. Creating such a committee satisfies the definition of “candidate” in SDCL 12-27-1, and SDCL 12-27-22 does require candidates “for any statewide office” to file pre-primary. So we will get to see what if any money Seiler and Means raise through May 16.

  5. Curt 2018-04-24 13:21

    Are you sure about that? There is no “primary” – just nomination at Convention.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-24 16:09

    Curt, I was thinking along your line—no primary, not report—but compare subsections 1 and 2 from SDCL 12-27-22:

    (1) Candidate or candidate campaign committee for any statewide office shall file a pre-primary, pre-general, year-end, and, if applicable, supplemental report and amendments in even numbered years. In odd numbered years shall file a year-end and, if applicable, amendments. A termination report may be submitted at any time;

    (2) Candidate or candidate campaign committee for a legislative or county office shall file a pre-primary if the candidate’s name appears on the primary election ballot, pre-general, year-end and, if applicable, supplemental report and amendments in even numbered years. A termination report may be submitted at any time;

    See also the definition of “statewide office” in SDCL 12-27-1(20):

    (20) “Statewide office,” the office of Governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer, commissioner of school and public lands, and public utilities commissioner;

    These three clauses make clear that statute treats statewide candidates differently from Legislative candidates. I’m running for D-3 Senate; I have no primary; thus, under clause 2, I file no report until the pre-general in October. Seiler and Means are running for statewide office, as defined in SDCL 12-27-1(20); they have no primary, but statute doesn’t care: SDCL 12-27-22 says candidates for “any statewide office” file pre-primary.

  7. Curt 2018-04-24 17:38

    It appears – as usual – that you are correct, sir.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-24 18:20

    It appears that way, but I’m open to countering legal opinions!

Comments are closed.