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Seiler Takes Charge, Calls Election for SDDP Chair December 7

To further prove that he can’t be trusted for honest analysis of political action in South Dakota, SDGOP-mouthpiece Pat Powers reads acting South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Randy Seiler’s announcement that the election of a new party chair will take place December 7 and makes up this headline: “Democrats kick the chairman can down the road to December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.

Pat isn’t just overtagging; he’s saying the opposite of what happened.

“Kicking the can down the road” is a derogatory phrase, indicating procrastination or deliberate avoidance of a difficult issue. It suggests acting chairman Seiler and the Executive Board dithered and delayed instead of taking decisive action.

Randy Seiler with "Swat Out Crime" flyswatter, South Dakota State Fair, screen cao from campaign video, 2018.09.02.
Randy Seiler will kick your can all right…

Horsehockey. Seiler and the board acted to resolve the unexpected vacancy with neither delay nor undue haste.

Seiler clearly had no interest in kicking any cans down the road. He convened an emergency Saturday meeting of the party’s Executive Board less than 72 hours after the chair and exec resigned. The Executive Board may have convened faster than allowed by the SDDP Constitution (Article 8, Section 5: “Any meeting called by the state chair… shall be called by written or electronic notice to each member of the executive board at least five days in advance of the meeting…”), but if any Democrats want to protest that emergency meeting, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

By meeting at what I suspect was the earliest possible time a quorum could assemble, Seiler and the Executive Board were able to establish the timeline for electing a new chair. Only the State Central Committee can elect a chair, either at the regular quadrennial election or to fill a vacancy created by resignation (SDDP Const. Article 11, Section 5). The Executive Board scheduled that election by the State Central Committee for December 7 in Mitchell. Seiler could have rushed that election—Article 8 Section 7 allows the Executive Board to call special meetings of the State Central Committee—but rushing that meeting would have been unwise.

Recall that the March chair election drew six contestants who spent three months eagerly campaigning all over the state for the job. Whether any of those candidates (Allison Renville, Tom Cool, John Kennedy Claussen, or John Cunningham) will offer their services again remains to be seen. But if the Executive Board had called any snappier of an election, it would have denied potential candidates vital time to deliberate and campaign. As it stands, candidates get only 41 days to decide and make their case, but at least Seiler has allowed them the entire month of November, enough time for county parties to hold at least one regular meeting, for Brown and Beadle Dems to have at least one of their monthly public lunches, and for my sponsor the Democratic Forum in Sioux Falls to host at least five big meetings for potential chairs to come make their pitches to probably the largest concentration of State Central Committee members one will find outside of an official SDDP meeting.

41 days strikes the right balance between filling the chair vacancy swiftly while allowing State Central Committee members a reasonable amount of time to do due diligence in selecting a new chair to deal with the now very public problems (not the least of which is wishful thinking about alternative universes) the SDDP must resolve before it can get back to its primary business of helping candidates win elections.

Nobody kicked any cans down the road yesterday; to the contrary, Acting Chairman Seiler appears to have kicked some cans into gear. In his first and unexpected turn at the party gavel, Seiler led the Executive Board through four hours of discussion, designated working groups to investigate and report on the party’s financial problems at the December 7 meeting, and established that Democrats will elect a new chair on that date.

Dems, recognize the gravity of your situation, but don’t be lured by lazy SDGOP lies into thinking things are worse than they are.


  1. grudznick 2019-10-27 19:58

    Mr. Seiler is among the most ept of Democrats in South Dakota, and grudznick advocated for him to be the attorney general winner back in the elections, as most know. Mr. Seiler would have been a far superior attorney than Mr. Ravnsborg.

    However, Mr. H, perhaps that loss was the Democrat Party’s gain, as had Mr. Seiler won in the elections he could not now take over the steering of your party and get the boat rowing straight again. Hypothetical question: Would you, Mr. H, trade having Mr. Seiler in the attorney chair for having a vacancy in the competent fellows in your party, and would you then step in should Mr. Seiler become ill or if he were not available?

  2. Debbo 2019-10-27 20:43

    Good luck SDDP.

  3. Porter Lansing 2019-10-27 20:56

    Good luck, SDDP.

  4. leslie 2019-10-27 20:58

    Cool. Way to go Randy and Exec Board. Let’s make some lemonade. I miss Paula’s charisma. As far as i kno republicans are still daily duping their members to think trump is doing well for the country. Up is down as always for the GOP message-benders. This comment from MFI’s state. Wow, NW Iowa has the worst interstate highways i have ever travelled anywhere. Lucky to be alive right now. State and Fed departments of transportation likely have traffic fatalities on their hands.

  5. grudznick 2019-10-27 21:06

    Ms. leslie, young Ms. Hawks was about as icy as a ditch digger’s brass monkey and had the charisma to match. Ms. Wismer has a bubbly, optimistic persona compared to Ms. Hawks. I think they’ll elect Ms. Wismer.

  6. Mary Perpich 2019-10-27 23:53

    The working groups are being led by State Central Committee members, myself included. We showed up in numbers and quickly volunteered to help solve the problems. We helped build the party and now will re build it.

  7. Jenny 2019-10-28 01:57

    Good job Randy, looks like true leadership!

  8. MJK 2019-10-28 07:37

    Thanks Randy Seiler for taking this on! We need a voice.

  9. leslie 2019-10-28 13:30

    Obviously you have never met Paula grdz

  10. Debbo 2019-10-28 13:34

    Good luck Mary, Randy and all the Democrats in SD.

  11. Dana P 2019-10-28 15:34

    Go get ’em Randy!

  12. Debbo 2019-10-29 00:58

    Speaking of political party struggles, another GOP congressman is quitting, the 19th for 2020.

    “Rep. Greg Walden, the top Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, will retire at the end of this Congress — the latest sign that Republicans see a struggle to retake the House in 2020.”
    Daily Beast

  13. Dennis Olson 2019-10-29 16:56

    I too was at the SDDP Exec. Meeting last Saturday at Fort Pierre and concur with Mary Perpich’s comment on the working groups and the interest in rebuilding the party. I was so happy to see the many people that wanted to be part of the solution and not just by saying it but offering their help in different areas. Democrats in South Dakota are committed to getting the challenges that face the State party behind so we can focus like a lazer beam to win Democratic seats in SD and in Congress. Trump’s policies have hurt South Dakotans and the Republicans push a message that everything is fine but that isn’t going to pay the banker. Rural America is hurting and Republicans will find out how much come the 2020 elections.

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