After nearly 2 weeks, was anyone noticing there is actually a Democrat running for AG?

Looks like Democrats have a unicorn in their midst.

Very quietly, on January 8th, outgoing Obama US Attorney appointee Randy Seiler registered a campaign committee at the Secretary of State to run for the office of Attorney General.

It’s unusual, as Democrats have not run anyone for this office not named Ron Volesky since 1998 – 20 Years ago! Volesky ran since in 2002, 2006 & 2010 to little/no fanfare and ever more dismal results (43%, 33%, and 33%).

While Deputy for many years, Seiler had a short tenure as US Attorney, taking over as Brendan Johnson went into private practice. Seiler’s most noticeable initiative for the office was a mid-2016 addition of a civil rights attorney for the US Attorney’s office partially for a certain issue we’re still hearing about:

Until this year, however, Seiler’s office hasn’t had an lawyer dedicated primarily to civil rights.

That’s changed with Alison Ramsdell’s appointment as the head of the newly-created Civil Rights section. The Flandreau native will lead the office’s efforts to educate the public on civil rights matters and pursue legal action against those who break the law.


The position was added from above, when Attorney General Loretta Lynch released funding for 34 new civil rights prosecutors within the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country. Seiler’s office applied for the funding and was awarded it, which made it possible to refocus Ramsdell’s work.


Other efforts include sending follow-up letters from Ramsdell to schools on the federal government’s guidance on transgender rights and setting up an information booth at an LGBT rights gathering in Terrace Park this summer.

Read it all here.

Given how unpopular and contentious the Obama Administration’s orders to schools were in South Dakota, with Seiler being the person enforcing President Obama’s will on how bathrooms/locker rooms were to be handled – beefing up his office to do so might mean we’re going to find the issue coming back this fall as a point of debate in the race for Attorney General.

24 Replies to “After nearly 2 weeks, was anyone noticing there is actually a Democrat running for AG?”

  1. Randall

    There is no doubt that Mr. Seiler s party creates heads winds for him in this race. Apart from that he is a very decent and fair life-long South Dakotan that really cares about our state. I will listen to his campaingn message and vision for the office with an open mind.

  2. Miranda Gohn

    Randy Seiler looks to be an excellent candidate for the Democrats/The states main opposition party for AG. Hoping to see Randy Seiler square off against Jason Ravensborg in the general election.

    1. Miranda Gohn

      I know plenty of 71 year olds that are in very good shape physically and mentally competing in bicycle racing and triathlons.

      Regarding what a 71 year old brings to the office of AG is experience and wisdom. 🙂

      1. Anonymous

        I will be interested in why he wants it or if he is just a token candidate because the Democrats need one.

        I have heard him speak, nice guy, boring as dirt though.

        As the President would say a LOW ENERGY CANDIDATE, but we have a few of those ont he Republican side already also.

    2. "Very Stable Genius"

      What’s worse? An AG candidate at age 71, or an incumbent political party that has an AG who thinks a 81 year old should serve on a very demanding parole board?

      Better yet, isn’t Trump 71?….. And he has his finger on the button, and I am not just talking about the Diet Coke one, either. Love him or not, “71” is the new “51.” (Well, there is that little stubborn thing called your cholesterol count, though…)

      1. Anon

        Don’t kid yourself. Trump doesn’t have access to the “real” button. Too unstable. The “real” button is right where it’s always been since WWII.

        1. "Very Stable Genius"

          And where is that, “…In a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s back porch since noon today?”

          1. Anon

            Judging by that comment , I’d say you’re in your 60’s. Great show, huh? 😎 The button is a weapon and it lives where weapons belong. In the Pentagon. It’s not like Presidents test fire it or something. If a President pushes it and it fails, who’s to blame? The situation’s already at critical mass and losing ten seconds won’t matter.

            1. "Very Stable Genius"

              Nope, 50’s, but a good try though. Anon, I realize that the Prez doesn’t have a real button on his desk, but always at his side he does have a military attaché officer who carries the “nuclear football.” And the Prez, keeps the codes for the “football” in his wallet.

              When Reagan was shot, the Cabinet didn’t know where the codes were, then they found them in Reagan’s wallet, which was still in his suit pants pocket and laying on the floor in the ER room where they had initially worked on Reagan after the assassination attempt…


  3. Pingback: More on Seiler for AG.. Where was the whole “running for AG” in the discussion over being hired as Interim Hughes Co Atty. – South Dakota War College

  4. The Sage

    If the Republican Party puts up a fringe candidate who has been sanctioned by the state bar for unethical behavior, or an unqualified candidate with little to no experience then I’m breaking ranks and voting for Randy Seiler. I may vote for him regardless of who the Republican Party nominates because of his exceptional qualifications, but nominating a putz seals the deal.

      1. Miranda Gohn

        If Ravensborg brings out an ad campaign “Protecting South Dakotans Against All Threats” with footage showing the candidate for AG flying his old A-10 Warthog shooting ground targets he will be a force to be reckoned with.


    So after the discussion the other day and today it got me to wondering and I have done some research on the people who have served as AG. I am still looking at some facts but here are some to digest and enjoy.

    There have been 30 AGs in our state’s history–29 elected 1 appointed who was not elected

    1 died in office(John Pyle in 1902), the rest have served out there terms.

    The only one I could not find much was then the one that was appointed and never elected AW Burtt who served from 1902-1903.

    We have had 27 GOP AGs and 3 Democrat AGs.

    The longest streak is the first 13 were Republican, from 1889- 1937 when Democrat Clair Roddewig was elected.

    No Democrat has been reelected.

    No Democrat has been followed by another Democrat or been elected to a 4 year term.

    The last Democrat was Kermit Sande from 1975-1977.

    So Mr. Seiler if elected would set a couple “firsts” right there.

    We have had 6 AGs run for governor and win (Crawford, Sharpe, Mickelson, Anderson, Farrar, Janklow)

    We have had 4 AGs run for governor and lose (Buell Jones, Phil Saunders, Tellinghuissen and Barnett)

    Of course our current AG is running and we will see where he ends up.

    The last 9 AGs have all graduated from the University of South Dakota Law School. It is uncertain where AC Miller graduated from so the USD streak might be longer…

    How does that compare to the current field:
    4 of the current candidates graduated from USD: Seiler, Ravnsborg, Fitzgerald and Russell

    1 candidate graduated from the University of Montana –McGuigan–from which we have never elected an AG before, so if elected that would be a first.


    As I said I could not find appointed Burtt’s birth and death, but of all the elected AGs the following is true:

    The oldest elected AG was AC Miller who was 62 when elected in 1960.

    The youngest elected was Royal Johnson who was 28 when elected in 1910. His life was fascinating to read about –so indulge me–He got elected to Congress after being AG, voted AGAINST WW1, but then went and served in combat as a congressman, came home and served until 1930 where he founded the American Legion! and the VA in Sioux Falls is named after him.

    The median age for electing an AG is 38.67; which is about out current AGs age when appointed 38 and a month shy of 39.

    We have had

    None in their 70s
    only 1 in 60s
    only 1- in 50s
    then 9-in 40s
    then 16- in 30s
    then 2- in 20s

    How does that compare to our current field:

    Randy Seiler would be 72 when elected
    John Fitzgerald would be 63 when elected
    Charlie McGuigan would be 52 when elected
    Lance Russell would be be 49 when elected
    Jason Ravnsborg would be 42 when elected

    So Seiler and Fitzgerald would break the record for oldest elected and all 5 are above the median age for AGs.

    I plan to do military service but that is going to take longer to reseach

    As I understand it Seiler and Ravnsborg have served and the others have not.

  6. Anonymous

    Great research. Can you research their legal accomplishments and election records, wins or losses etc who has done what, this is good.


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