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Randy Seiler Dies at Age 76

Randy Seiler has died Monday night after last week’s heart attack:

Seiler was appointed as the 41st United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota in 2015, serving until 2017. In 2018, Seiler ran for state Attorney General as the Democratic nominee, but was defeated by Republican Jason Ravnsborg. Seiler had also served as a member of the Fort Pierre City Council.

Seiler’s term as state Democratic Party Chair was set to end May 1. Incoming Party Chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen will assume all responsibilities until her elected term begins May 1.

Seiler is survived by his wife, Wanda, and four children. Service arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, his family asks people to please consider a donation to one of his many favorite causes such as The Badlands Foundation, the Pat Duffy Community Youth Involved Center or the Fort Pierre Volunteer Fire Department [Jody Heemstra, “Long-Time Public Servant Randy Seiler of Fort Pierre Passes Away After Brief Illness,” DRG News, 2023.04.18].

Public officials are paying their respects:

On Twitter on Tuesday, Rounds commented about Seiler’s death.

“Randy Seiler was not only my neighbor but a good friend. I always appreciated our candid conversations about issues facing South Dakota. He cared deeply for our state and our citizens.”

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley shared the following statement about Seiler on Twitter.

“Randy Seiler was a brilliant lawyer, a great U.S. Attorney for SD, a strong advocate for victims, a dear friend, and most importantly, an amazing father and husband.

“Randy became a friend in the late seventies when my dad and he were law school classmates. I have been fortunate to try cases with and against him, as well as in front of him as a Tribal Judge always finding him to be fair with integrity. God speed my friend!”

Democrat Sen. Reynold Nesiba, who is also Senate Minority leader in the legislature, said about Seiler’s death, “This is an enormous loss to the people of SD.”

The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, Brian Bengs, shared this message on social media.

“Reflecting on Randy Seiler’s passing, the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson are fitting: ‘The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’ Randy exemplified every aspect & will be missed.”

Former Democratic House Minority Leader and Candidate for Governor Jamie Smith says Seiler’s “profound impact on South Dakota cannot be understated” [Karen Sherman, “Former U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, Outgoing SD Democratic Party Chairman Dies at 76,” KELO-TV, 2023.04.18].


  1. Jenny 2023-04-19 08:16

    This is a sad day for SD, Randy Seiler was a good man who would have made a very good AG if SD voters would have put aside party politics for once. My condolences.

  2. leslie 2023-04-19 11:24

    breaks my heart….

  3. bearcreekbat 2023-04-19 11:33

    Randy certainly was a bright light in South Dakota politics and law, and more importantly, human compassion and empathy. You will be missed old friend.

  4. Curt 2023-04-19 14:59

    Nice tributes to a good man (I especially appreciate Brian Bengs quoting Emerson – nice touch).
    Randy lived his life working to make South Dakota a better place. It was my honor to know him as a treasured friend.

  5. grudznick 2023-04-19 17:52

    Mr. Seiler was a pretty swell fellow.

  6. DR 2023-04-20 07:36

    You know you have done well when both sides of the political spectrum are truly mourning his death. Mr Seiler was good for South Dakota and he will be sorely missed by everyone.

  7. Frank Kloucek 2023-04-20 18:19

    Randy Seilor made South Dakota a better place during his lifetime of public service. He was truly a great South Dakotan.

  8. leslie 2023-04-20 19:03

    SD Standard certainly mischaracterized PennDems (and Custer Dems too, I’d wager) and “foddered” the SD GOP w/more ammunition historically tromping its knee on the throat of the entire state politic. Of course Trump’s election was a blow. Look how that turned out. Impeached-Impeached-Indicted! Fox News disgraced.

    “a broke, dispirited and beleaguered South Dakota Democratic Party.”

    Randy likely would have some wisdom to add to my displeasure.

  9. grudznick 2023-04-20 19:43

    When those Standard fellows typed:

    a broke, dispirited and beleaguered South Dakota Democratic Party

    they were righter than right. Now the Democrat party is even more broken, without Mr. Seiler. There is little most fellows can do, but blow out the candle before you join up with the Libertarians.

  10. Mark Anderson 2023-04-20 21:59

    Of course Grudz join the self absorbed Libertarians.

  11. P. Aitch 2023-04-20 22:51

    My state has three political groups of equally sized membership. Republicans, Democrats, and Unaffiliated. Being in the unaffiliated group has numerous benefits.
    – Being unaffiliated with a political party allows for a more objective view of politics. I’m not beholden to any particular ideology or party line. This independence allows for a greater degree of critical thinking, as well as the freedom to support issues and candidates on their own merits, rather than simply based on their party affiliation.
    – Being unaffiliated with a political party fosters a sense of individualism and non-conformity, I’m not constrained by the labels and expectations of a particular party platform.
    – Being unaffiliated allows for greater flexibility in my political views. I’m not tethered to a particular set of beliefs or ideologies.
    – In short, being unaffiliated with a political party encourages independent thought, free from the constraints and limitations of partisan politics.

  12. John 2023-04-21 09:47

    P. Aitch, well analyzed. Thank you. Also consider the the political parties are private, not public organizations. Political parties goal is power, to remain in power. That narrow goal overrides the public good, or being a faithful government servant. Both parties gerrymander and bully when in power to remain in power verses solving public problems. At present nationally, the only thing worse than the democratic party is the republican party. That is why us independents decide elections – both parties are too selfish, egotistical, and self serving to figure it out. (That also explains in a “seniority based system” like the US Senate, why fossils like Diane Feinstein, Chuck Grassley, Schumer, and McConnell run the assisted living facility.)

  13. bearcreekbat 2023-04-21 10:44

    Based on my experience and knowledge of Randy Seiler I would be loathe to criticize Randy Seiler’s choice to be an active leader in the Democratic party.

    I do think it is true that like many good people Randy held certain values, or what P.Aitch might refer to as being “tethered to a particular set of beliefs or ideologies.” The only reason I ever saw, however, for Randy taking an active role in the Democratic party was because that party generally represented people that shared many or most of Randy’s beliefs and ideologies rather than the other way around. I never once saw Randy compromise his beliefs and ideologies to gain power or financial reward. I never saw him act in a “selfish, egotistical, and self serving” manner.

    As far as my experience with Randy’s intellect, I found him to be independent, flexible and objective, rather than beholden to anyone else or to any “party line.” He was indeed a “critical thinker” always trying to determine how to advance the public good. I doubt he ever supported a candidate, regardless of party or non-party affiliation, unless he believed the election of that candidate would place the public good above any desire for personal advancement or power.

    His goal was to make government act for the good of people, not merely to gain power for power’s sake. Obviously I cannot speak for all Democrats, but as far as Randy was concerned I am certain that: He believed in the public good; He chose to support people that he believed shared his “particular set of beliefs or ideologies;” and That was the sole reason he gave so much of his life supporting the Democratic party. Randy was a heck of a lot smarter than me and I respect his decision to become a Democrat and take an active role in the Democratic party. Given his nature, those decisions are a testament to positive aspects of that particular party that deseerrve much more weight than the old tiresome and untrue “both sides are equally bad” meme.

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