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Jackley Wants to Be Attorney General Again

Making clear that killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s future in the Republican Party is over, the last guy to hold the job, Marty Jackley, announced yesterday that he plans to run for Attorney General in 2022. To make sure Jason read his announcement, Jackley sent his press release to Ravnsborg’s favorite South Dakota websiteDakota Free Press:

Marty Jackley announces 2022 campaign for Attorney General, received by Dakota Free Press 2021.03.01.
Marty Jackley announces 2022 campaign for Attorney General, received by Dakota Free Press 2021.03.01.

North Dakota investigators said Ravnsborg was accessing Dakota Free Press on his work phone just a couple minutes before killing Joe Boever, so we know that if Jason didn’t catch the bad news yet, he will now.

Jackley could be passing up a golden opportunity to run for Governor again and unseat the woman who beat him in the 2018 primary, Governor Kristi Noem. A serious campaigner, Republican or Democratic, could make hay of all the baggage Noem is carrying around—1,900 coronavirus deaths, nursing homes ravaged due to the Governor’s inaction against the pandemic, multiple losses in court to liberals due to poorly written laws, a cabal of Beltway outsiders trashing her relations with local media, a brittle ego leading her to commit unforced errors against members of her own party, distraction from doing her job by her starry-eyed travel to glitzy out-of-state fundraisers and her regular 2024 campaign broadcasts to Fox News from her private taxpayer-funded video studio—and become the first person to beat an incumbent elected Governor since Richard Kneip beat Gov. Frank Farrar in 1970.

But while Republicans have the courage to turn on a killer loser of an Attorney General who is bringing them all down with his lackluster job performance and charisma-less lying about his negligent manslaughter, Jackley and the other GOP establishment figures lack the Janklovian chutzpah to take on their leader in the top chair. Within the confines of South Dakota’s rigid party hierarchy, Jackley may be making enough waves just by laying his marker down for his old job and thus creating pressure for Noem to pick him when she appoints a replacement for Ravnsborg following his resignation or impeachment. Jackley didn’t mention the Ravnsborg scandal in his announcement, and he even avoided calling for Ravnsborg’s resignation when questioned by the press, but his announcement reads like a public pitch for the Governor’s likely appointment. Who better to pick for the job when Ravnsborg leaves than the most experienced former Attorney General available? Knowing the general timidity of his fellow Republicans, Jackley must know that by making his public announcement, other aspiring GOP jurists will hesitate to vie for the Noem appointment.

Jackley may also figure that, attackable as Noem may be in 2022, he doesn’t want to take his chances against all the out-of-state Trumpist funding Noem will be able to deploy against any primary challengers in a bloody battle that could divide the party and pave the way for a Democratic squeaker in November. Let Billie Sutton take the lumps in 2022, figures Jackley. Even if Sutton returns and beats Noem in 2022, he’ll govern mostly like a Chamber of Commerce Republican anyway, doing minimal damage to the GOP monolith but still offering a prime target back to the natural Republican order of things in 2026, when Marty can spring to the gubernatoriate after enjoying five-plus years of prominence in which he will blindingly glow by his mere competence compared to the simpering, schlumpy disaster of Jason Ravnsborg as AG.

Jackley’s announcement also gives Noem a chance to burnish her image and remove a primary threat to her path to the Presidency. Many Main Street Republicans still rankle at her negative campaigning and defeat of Jackley in the 2018 primary. Jackley would be many grousing Republicans’ first choice for a primary challenge in 2022. Noem could give Jackley back his old job, not just to restore confidence in the Attorney General’s office but to show how magnanimous she can be to an old foe. Plus, she can tie him to a job he’s announced for and say, “You owe me one,” keeping him off the primary ballot and keeping him from endorsing anyone else in a 2022 primary.

It’s not the Noem/Jackley 2022 ticket I saw brewing last year when Jackley was defending drunks, but it’s the same dynamic: Jackley offering his services to help Noem tamp down a scandal that could cost Kristi votes. Marty’s a sly silver fox; one way or another, he’s going to get himself in the chute to be Governor in 2026.


  1. Kari 2021-03-02 06:54

    Excellent work here. Didn’t know the bit about his cell phone and accessing DFP.

  2. jerry 2021-03-02 11:14

    Jackley’s work put South Dakota’s tax revenue in the black during this pandemic. Contrary to NOem’s beating the drum about her leadership, it was Jackley’s that made a difference for the state’s sales tax coffers. She is an anvil sinking our state.

  3. Yvonne 2021-03-02 15:16

    Move on Jackley. Time for a better Republican or Democrat to man the attorney general office that will actually work for the people of this state; rather than big money, self interests, and dirty politics. Do they exist any more?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-02 19:29

    Jackley is the best his party will offer. I say that with no celebration. I write only to analyze the how the game is being played.

  5. grudznick 2021-03-02 19:53

    Mr. Jackley will dog Mr. Ravnsborg hard for the next 2 years. We can only hope Mr. Ravnsborg announces that he, too, will be going to the caucuses of the GOP to ask for their nomination again, so we can have some very entertaining times watching Mr. Jackley dog him.

  6. Yvonne 2021-03-02 21:43

    And Ravsnborg will pull out all the digs about Jackley Noem hit Jackley with during that saga of politics. Entertaining isn’t it to see grown people of the same party attack for a win. SAD

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-03 06:40

    Oh no, Yvonne. Ravnsborg will not attack his fellow Republicans that way. Republican loyalty is the only currency he has.

  8. Yvonne 2021-03-03 08:25

    Cory: You’re probably right. The sooner Ravsnborg can figure out why he’s losing at his own game, the sooner he can refocus on what matters if that’s even possible.

  9. Roger L Elgersma 2021-03-03 09:29

    In the last governors race Jackley started out fifteen points behind Noem. Then he ran the same add continuously that all but five sheriffs were for him. This add was on all channels a number of times per day.
    Jackley had an employee who was a woman police officer who had complained about sexual harassment from a sheriffs deputy. He told her to get a better attitude and better work ethic so she would not have such problems anymore. He then transfered her to another job 140 miles from home, hoping she would quit. So she sued that he was causing her problems just to get rid of the charge against the deputy. She took him to court and won 1 million for damages and 3 hundred thousand for her lawyer fees to be paid by March 1. Jackley had the check in his possession and it was his duty to deliver it to her. When he was six weeks late in delivering it, Noem had a press conference about it. Within days, ten days before the election, Jackley had pulled into a dead heat with Noem for the election, I had a letter in the Argus Leader pointing out that Jackley had two years before had a bill in the legislature to give money to the sheriffs to process rape kits when the average rape kit was on the shelf four years before being processed. My question was, were the sheriffs for Jackley because he had taught them to prosecute rape or were they for him for getting them more money from the legislature? He could have just told them to process rape kits so they would know if they had serial rapists running around the state. That add went off of the air within one day and in the last ten days before the election Noem got her fifteen point lead back and won. The media was saying that they were not sure if Jackley would ever have a career in law again. But Jackley thinks that people do not have a memory so thinks his past fiasco’s will just go away.
    This idea of swapping one crook for another crook to enforce the state’s laws is ludicrous. New blood is desperately needed in the Attorney General’s office.

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