When my eager readers caught killer Jason Ravnsborg out scheming with Brookings Republicans to stage an improbable convention coup and cling to the Attorney Generalship, I thought immediately of my hunting and litigating pal Marty Jackley. Marty, I thought, you need to drop the hammer on this Ravnsborg punk.
Instead of a good whack whack whack, the sound we heard today was the smooth slide of silk sheets as the Silver Fox got in bed with the Snow Queen:
In 2018, after Kristi Noem trashed Jackley in the gubernatorial primary, Jackley didn’t endorse Noem until a rather unenthusiastic pride-swallowing on October 24, just a week and a half before her narrow victory over Democratic candidate Billie Sutton. Now, with more than a month left for better options for Governor to present their petitions, Jackley is “honored” to offer his “full support” to the women who’s running the state a lot less attentively and effectively than he would have. But he’s been angling for a couple years to demonstrate his good will. He defended drunk Senators in 2020 to keep her bleary-eyed Lieutenant Governor and the party’s brand out of trouble. Last year he announced his candidacy for Attorney General in early March, making clear to Noem that he would not run for her job.
Kristi’s a little slow to reciprocate: while her team posts much more prolifically to social than Team Marty, Marty’s the only one with this dramatic announcement at the top of his campaign website. As of 5:30 Central this afternoon, Kristi’s Twitter and Facebook are still stuck bleating false economic slogans and exhorting the Canadian Prime Minister to pandemic recklessness.
But hey, Kristi’s a busy lady, and I’m sure her Six (Point Six) Million Dollar campaign team will snap out of Bionic Woman slo-mo and trumpet this great reconciliation, because she has as much to gain from this deal as Jackley.
For his part, Jackley gets a clear message from the top of the ticket to all those potential convention delegates: ignore Ravnsborg and his silly convention scheming. Get behind Jackley; he’s the man we need, and he’s the man who’s got the love of the woman who will do you any favors if you vote right at convention and who will make sure you get nothing but grief if you rally behind Ravnsborg.
For her part, Noem gets a clear message from her last great in-party opponent that the mainstream of the GOP is united behind her. The only challengers to GOP order are fringe radicals and malcontents whose primary noisemaking is to be silenced toute de suite.
Noem also swipes off the table any skullduggerist excuses that lawmakers may have been entertaining to delay or avoid impeaching Jason Ravnsborg. Some inside baseballers may have thought that impeaching Ravnsborg would open the door for Noem to appoint some favored lackey to the Attorney General’s post before the convention, someone who could use that sudden incumbency to support her own bid for the GOP AG nod and box out Marty in a fit of persistent Noemian pique. But in endorsing Jackley for AG, Noem signals to the Legislature that if they heed her advice and remove Ravnsborg from office (and her endorsement note about lacking “the confidence of law enforcement and the legal community” nods most distinctly toward that impeach-Jason advice), she’s bound to appoint Jackley to fill out the term and bolster his chances of winning reëlection in November.
Ravnsborg stands between Jackley and his former job. Ravnsborg stands between Noem and a Republican slate of candidates unsullied by an unrepentant killer and legal oaf. And with Jackley and Noem now arm in arm, no political calculation stands between legislators and swift action on impeachment. Quite the contrary: the sooner legislators yank Ravnsborg from the stage, the sooner they can all rush in to sign kumbaya with their leaders, Marty and Kristi.