State Sen. Lance Russell endorsed by State Sen. Stace Nelson for Attorney General.

Speaking of endorsements…

In the race for Attorney General, State Senator Lance Russell today picked up the endorsement of his  somewhat controversial fellow State Senator Stace Nelson.

On the Republican side of the aisle, Russell will face Jason Ravnsborg, who has announced the endorsement of many of South Dakota’s County Sheriffs, Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald (who has been endorsed by Whitewood Councilman Jerry Davidson), and Deputy Attorney General Charles McGuigan.

The Republican candidate for the office will be chosen at the Republican State Convention to be held in Pierre this coming June.

43 Replies to “State Sen. Lance Russell endorsed by State Sen. Stace Nelson for Attorney General.”

  1. Anon1

    And all along I thought that Lance actually wanted to win. I guess this should end any speculation about that!

  2. Anonymous

    This should end Lance’s AG chances…there is time to run for state senate…

    Don’t follow Stace off the cliff….

  3. Charlie Hoffman

    I think it should read “Legislative and prosecutorial” but that’s just the grammar Nazi coming out.

  4. Pat Powers Post author

    Guys, all of the people running in this race are pretty decent people. Keep it civil please.

  5. Anonymous

    I don’t think this endorsement will be any kind of a boost for Russell. Nelson’s stature in the state has taken big hits over the past few years, so it will be more harmful than helpful.

  6. Pat

    Ouch, I would not want Stace endorsing me. Stace is a lunatic and noneffective in his current political position. This does not bode well for Lance’s chance at AG, even though those were slim anyways with his public censoring mentioned above. Lance should drop out of the AG race as it appears more and more he is not the right fit for the position.

  7. Anonymous

    John Fitzgerald is almost everyone I talk with second choice. No one doubts his qualifications or his work ethic. He’s a little gruff but he’s also tried and true. He’s like a broken in pair of shoes that we know what we are going to get day in and day out. Those wanting experience like him and those wanting a principled conservative outsider like him. Fitzgerald absolutely has to start showing that he has Pennington, Lawrence, Butte, Meade and other west river counties backing him. He has to be seen as having substantial support west river and that will translate to Hughes, Minnehaha, Lincoln, Brookings, Watertown and Brown.

    If McGuigan isn’t someone’s first choice then he isn’t anyone’s second choice. His biggest problem is that he does not show the hunger to earn the job. Everyone knows he is immensely qualified to run the office but no one is going to hand a position to someone who isn’t demonstrating that he’s willing to work for it. McGuigan was never the first person in the race so he should have never been coasting but he has given the feeling from day one that he didn’t take Ravnsborg seriously and it’s hurt the perception delegates have of him. Everyone likes him as a person.

    McGuigan doesn’t have that many people supporting him outside of Hughes County where he probably has the vast majority of support and a smattering of support here or there across the state.

    McGuigan’s candidacy is essentially stifling any momentum Fitzgerald could pick up. Despite what anyone thinks conventions are not about planting delegates. They are about earning support, making sure your supporters show up, they are about building enthusiasm and momentum. McGuigan is not taking that much support from Fitzgerald by locking up delegates but he is keeping prominent state’s attorney’s and convention regulars from taking a side.

    But we all know from private conversations those concerns about Russell and Ravnsborg are sincere and very concerning to many attorney’s across the state.

    If this race progresses as the current status quo the race looks like it is coming down to a very well organized Russell and a hard working Ravnsborg.

    My prediction is this on the first ballot with no candidate having more than 35%:

    1. Russell
    2. Ravnsborg
    3. Fitzgerald – low to mid 20’s%
    4. McGuigan

    McGuigan is limping in to convention with minimal support. Fitzgerald shows up with a decent amount but he is still in third place and it is truly too late for anyone to make a serious case for him at this point or against the two top candidates – most don’t know the back story about Russell and Nelson or Ravnsborg’s resume. It is trivial and inconsequential at that point to speak up. Most of those who don’t want them probably didn’t even show up to convention. Delegates start looking to Ravnsborg and Russell. Russell is in the lead but many regulars have concerns about Nelson’s support and several conservative legislators are not willing to back Russell because of positions and infighting he is perceived to have supported in the past. Russell’s issues with the state Bar Association are easier for others to attack than inexperience. Slowly but surely delegates, Gov office etc start to look at Ravnsborg as their vehicle to stop Russell and that helps alleviate concerns of his lack of experience. Ravnsborg is a worker and a tireless campaigner. Plus he is smart enough to keep most of the office in place from Jackley – that wins many supporters for Ravnsborg. He’s not going to reinvent the wheel. A trusted and experiences staff will be there to help him grow. If he screws up then they will just get rid of him in 4 years. It’s better than Russell they will say.

    But Russell has a lot more political savvy and charisma than Ravnsborg which will go a long way on the podium and working the convention floor. It would be a very close runoff between these two and it could go in Russell’s favor if the heavy hitters sit it out.

    That is how I see it playing out UNLESS those closest to McGuigan just say we love you but this office is bigger than you. You can stay in but we are going to express support for Fitzgerald. You’ve had a year to run a credible campaign and it’s not happening. Fitzgerald is out working as hard as Ravnsborg, he’s got Pennington, Lawrence, Meade, Butte, Perkins etc. you have Hughes. That doesn’t do anything for you but it will really boost Fitzgerald along with various factions in other larger eastern counties.

    Fitzgerald doesn’t have to be in first place on the first ballot. BUT he does have to be in second and have visible momentum and support.

    If he’s in second then it means he’s in a runoff against Russell and or Ravnsborg. Two candidates who have a loyal following but also have sizable numbers of delegates with questions. Their best outcome is that they face each other in the final round and that their road to the final ballot is through a fractured race.

    McGuigan’s supporters will transfer to Fitzgerald on the second ballot elevating him further. In a runoff against Ravnsborg or Russell Fitzgerald becomes the candidate everyone is comfortable with leading the attorney generals office.

    If Russell supporters like Nelson have Fitzgerald as their second choice and McGuigan supporters have him as their second choice then it only makes sense he would be a sensible compromise candidate.

    I have no problem with Russell and Stace’s support doesn’t bother me. I like it. I like Russell and have nothing negative to say about him other than that I don’t know if he can build a coalition of 51%. But Lance will bow to no one and that is appealing in an attorney general. I also believe he will work well with the legislature on policy. If he wouldn’t have served for so many years in the legislature with sharp elbows he’d be a lock on this race. I have also come a long way on Ravnsborg because I admire that he believes in himself and is showing how bad he wants the job. I wish he would run for state’s attorney first and I know I’m not alone in that.

    For those who have concerns about those two there is only one choice and that is John Fitzgerald.

    1. Anonymous

      I think you analysis is way off base.

      John Fitzgerald has no support, no money, no personality, no ideas and no chance.

      Quite frankly he is not likable. Very few in the states attorneys association can stand him. He may get a few west river states attorney who feel obligated to support him but that is it.

      Have you tried to talk to this guy? I cannot imagine working with him for 4-8 years.

          1. Anonymous

            That’s not the same thing. That has more to do with how connected you are to Thune than anything else.

  8. Anonymous

    I disagree with the analysis, my prediction is this


    Ravnsborg is the only one campaigning. Russell I can’t see winning so I think he should stay in the state senate. he is at least organizing and raising money. I also think his supporters are more likely to go to Ravnsborg than Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald does not seem to want to do this..I think if we handed him the job maybe, but his wife is annoying as all get out and losing him votes, put a muzzle on her. Have you seen his face in some recent pictures? is can I quit yet and when you are putting in your own money i wouldn’t blame him. McGuigan smart guy but also no energy.

    If Trump was around he would say Fitzgerald and Mcguigan are both low energy candidates. No reason to vote for them except their are career prosecutors…SO WHAT, I want my AG to be a leader not a career politician prosecutor. I don’t see Marty as a prosecutor I see him as a leader and with Ravnsborg’s military record of leadership I think the chose is clear. I’ll be voting Ravnsborg.

    1. Anonymous

      I dont really care about this race much. I’m not super excited about anyone. I will vote for Russell or Fitzgerald. But none of these candidates are in Jackley’s league or those who came before him. It’s really amazing to see the best of the best pass on the AG’s office.

      1. Pat

        Seriously, show some facts as that is broad statement about the entire field of candidates. Jackley was ok but has his issues. Did you notice the increase in crime around the state.

        1. KM

          Seriously, how can you claim the increase of crime is due to Jackley. Please, elaborate, I’m interested.

            1. KM

              3:21 – So criminals noticed this and thought they could get away with more crimes and then called their criminal buddies to offer advice? Not a very strong argument in suggesting crime rate increase is the fault of Jackley, but I guess…

      1. Anonymous

        Michels would own this AG’s race. It’s a good thought.

        Ravnsborg is a nice guy so is everyone else but none are making me excited about them.

  9. Anonymous

    Fitzgerald is anything but low energy. Have you ever had a case against him, he’s got the killer instinct. Ravnsborg has no legal background. He just wants to be someone important. He should have run for Auditor. Russell should not be running period. McGuigan needs to leave the race or has he all ready. I have know Fitzgerald for many years. His father survived the mob attack. His dad became a judge and all of his have law degrees. One child is an Assistant US Attorney. The family is a legal dynasty. They are S.D. history in the making.

    1. Pat

      Mary Mary Mary. Is your only argument against Ravnsborg the same lie over and over again of having no legal experience? Everyone knows he is a lawyer and has been for many years, in everyone’s book the law part of the AG requirement is a check.
      Additionally, throw in his leadership and management from the military, another check. This is were Fitzgerald is sorely lacking, his leadership and management experience is almost nonexistent. Mary, I know you will say he runs an office, but 2 people is hardly management. When you get into the hundreds as a company and Battalion commander in military will have commanded and the fact that he is manages managers as well, then you have the experience needed to run the AG office.
      I think you want your husband to be AG more than he shows at any events and in all of the pictures you take. Maybe Fitzgerald would be better running for Auditor.

      1. KM

        Pat, Pat, Pat. Is your only argument for the increased crime rate due to Jackley? Care to elaborate? As I can recognize mayors announcing their cities are sanctuaries for illegal aliens some blame may be directed toward them when crimes increase. However, I’m not sure you have a strong argument as to how Jackley is responsible for lawbreakers.

  10. Pat Powers Post author

    Why do all these posts on the AG race turn into a slugfest? Please attempt to keep it on topic, as well as civil.


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