So what happened? The road to the AG Nomination.

The Republican nomination for Attorney General was one of the more interesting convention fights that have taken place over the past decade, and while some of it unfolded out in the field, just like a good thriller (or horror movie) some of the best twists were saved until the end.

The Fitzgerald Pre-Convention Strategy – Conventional  

Many people who are outside the party structure might not be aware that this was not Fitzgerald’s first rodeo, and he had unsuccessfully attempted to run at convention in the 1990’s.

Many of the techniques used then are the same as used now. And, the gruff Fitzgerald checked the boxes.

Fitzgerald’s campaign relied on the tried and true GOP Constitutional candidate nomination strategy of the Lincoln Day Dinner Circuit (aka the Rubber Chicken Circuit, describing the many mass-cooked dinner banquets entrees).  You throw an odd appearance or two in via a GOP luncheon or monthly meeting, and you’ve got a campaign. Without fail, that’s how they all do it, and have for time immemorial.

In the past couple of cycles, candidates have introduced postcards as a reminder to delegates that they were still out there, and Fitzgerald was no different, sending a few to delegates. There was also posting on social media, etc.

Leading into convention, he did go out and meet and talk with delegates, again, part of conventional strategy. The campaign also added in SMS messaging, which didn’t always work well.  They texted my wife a couple of times, thinking it was my number. She didn’t appreciate that.

It was a rote and conventional strategy, which the campaign executed. As all the boxes were checked, the campaign moved to Pierre.

The Russell Pre-Convention Strategy – Alliances and Air War

As the most seasoned politico in the race for Attorney General, Lance Russell knew he could not do it alone, so he brought in self-styled political consultant Jordan Mason to run his campaign operation allowing him the time he needed to work, as well as perform the duties of his office in the South Dakota State Senate.

During the period of time that Mason was working for Russell, He was also working for the Mickelson ballot measures, Shantel Krebs, Neap Tapio (for a short while), and anyone else he could possibly get his hands into, especially those aligned with the more ultra-conservative elements of the Republican party. There is also a close association with the South Dakota Gun Owners/National Association of Gun Rights groups.

The Ultra-Conservative association came to bear in the Russell Campaign, especially that close association with the Gun Owners/NAGR, which poured over 10K into the Russell Campaign via contributions and in-kind donations.

From those alliances came a massive air-war strategy in the campaign where delegates were pounded with mailing after mailing after mailing. Some might come from Lance himself. Some from the National Association of Gun Rights, some from the “Republican Direction PAC,” and on and on and on.

The campaign (or a related entity) was also organizing to put their preferred and supportive delegates in county precinct positions, again through an organized mail war. The problem with that was that all campaigns check the box of seeking preferential placement of delegates favorable to them.

With the mailing blasts landing until the final hours of the campaign, and with their people in place, they marched towards the GOP Convention in Pierre.

The Ravnsborg Pre-Convention Strategy- An Invasion of One

During his campaign addresses at convention, Jason Ravnsborg reminded delegates that he’d been to every county twice. Many would view that as a vast understatement, as Jason Ravnsborg has been a constant fixture at nearly every County GOP event for several years now.

He’s manned the GOP State Fair Booth, he’s been at nearly every rally, event, or gathering of more than 5 or six Republicans during all that time, whether he’s been talking about ballot measures, or his own candidacy in the more recent months.

With the same tireless and methodical method Ravnsborg used to attend everything, while all candidates were trying to predictably collect the blessings of States Attorney’s, Ravnsborg knew that group would largely be split, and went around it, quietly racking up the endorsements from a majority of the State’s respected county law enforcement officers, the Sheriffs, springing that on his opponents, a fact he reminded them in two endorsement mailings, one coming via postcard, and one coming in a convention packet.

In almost every instance, the vast majority of Republican faithful knew Jason, found him to be eager, helpful, likable, and without controversy or negative connotation in the run up to convention.  The only shade being cast in his direction came from his opponents, which delegates took with appropriate skepticism.

Convention – The unmaking of those who would be king. 

If you’ve been reading for any time now, you know many of the events that took place in the lead up to convention.  The Republican Primary re-rolled the dice for many in the Party, and the accepted ‘establishment” was no longer the establishment.  There is a new Sheriff in town.

Candidates hit Pierre, and almost immediately their convention plans were sprung into action.

The Fitzgerald campaign went all out in their campaign, bringing in signs and materials, at the same time they went hard, hard negative against Jason Ravnsborg, ignoring Russell, almost to the exclusion of anything else. It was a constant barrage attacking his experience, and that Fitzgerald was the one who had the most. The tenor of the campaign came off to many of the delegates as angry.

The Russell campaign had allied itself with the more ultra-conservative elements of the GOP, and had the full throated support of Senator Stace Nelson. Why is this important? Ever since the primary, instead of preparing for convention to solely help Russell, Nelson packed his bags for an ego trip.

Nelson started out promoting former State Rep Dan Kaiser for Lt. Governor, even before Kristi Noem had made her choice. Unfortunately for Nelson, he didn’t have Kaiser’s blessing.  Even after Noem chose popular conservative State Rep. Larry Rhoden for the slot, Nelson persisted, with the aid of Rep. Liz May. And Kaiser continued in his denial.  At that point, with continued disavowals from Kaiser, the Draft Dan Kaiser movement became the State Nelson for Lt. Gov movement, making Nelson completely radioactive.  That was Thursday.

By Friday, as delegates were starting to arrive, candidate delegate counts of attendees were starting to gel, as did rumors of the Russell affiliated ultra-conservatives bringing in buses of delegates, spurred on by their great Lt. Gov crusade to put “a true conservative” in as the Lt. Gov pick.

At some point in the afternoon, likely after running their numbers, the Russell campaign and the Fitzgerald campaign had a very public mid-afternoon sit-down in the pool area of the GOP Convention.

With Russell having Zach Lautenschlager of the South Dakota Gun Owners acting as his consigliere, and Fitzgerald confidante’ John Teupel acting as his own, it was clear that a plan was being hatched to try to take out the competition.

Why was it needed? In the run up to convention, it was circulating in the rumor mill that the numbers looked very favorable to Ravnsborg, and that he had a commanding lead, especially those up and down the I-29 corridor.

While Fitzgerald and Russell were splitting up West River and going after Brown County, Ravnsborg was working everything up and down the Eastern SD Interstate. With everyone going after Brown County, it was likely going to be split. Bur Ravnsborg had also focused on gaining a near lock on Lincoln County, which the other candidates hadn’t put as much effort into, and he had hard totals of about 60% of Minnehaha.  In several of those counties I-29 counties, he had around 50% or more. They just had to show up.

As the delegates started to arrive, campaigns had to be counting their tallies. And Fitzgerald and Russell had to be coming to a similar conclusion. To have any chance, they needed to knock out Ravnsborg. What was hastily attempted on Friday (from reports I was hearing) was that the two trailing campaigns were demanding a debate between all three AG Candidates. But there were two problems.

Problem #1, which they anticipated, was that Ravnsborg had no interest in playing their game. Problem #2 was the venue. The convention sponsors were approached with the debate proposal and the campaigns were turned down flat, since it would occupy the space they were holding the Friday Night banquet.  They wanted a hard time of an 8pm debate, which would have been impossible anyway, since the Gubernatorial Nominee was still speaking at 8:10. It would have required tear down, clean up, and reconfiguration, making even the thought of the attempt a ridiculous one.

What was the alternative plan? A joint press release from the two AG campaigns issued in the early evening which turned out to have the opposite effect to what it was intended.

During the Friday night banquet, as delegates sat and visited, Zach Lautenschlager of South Dakota Gun Owners started dropping fluorescent blue flyers of the release at the left on tables. He’d nearly gotten all of them until he was stopped by GOP staff.

And come to find, as they were sitting down at a banquet to honor a past Governor (Frank Farrar) and listen to their next Governor Kristi Noem, delegates didn’t like it. They really, really didn’t like it.

It fired up many delegates and swung those on the fence against the two campaigns. And the negative barrage that followed in the hours after only solidified delegate’s dislike for what took place.

On Saturday delegates awoke to more negativity under their doors. and it continued to solidify the decisions of the night before.

Delegate numbers swelled in the early hours the day, until they numbered well over 600. The rumored buses of delegates being brought in by the Russell campaign amounted to not as many as some had predicted, but he still added to the total from several west river areas.

But there was a big vote to go first, to demonstrate the power of the ultra-right coalition being brought in to try to dominate the convention voting process. They would try to bring Stace Nelson as their man for Lt. Governor.

It was a slaughter. Unfortunately for them, it was their own slaughter and demonstrated a complete and utter debacle for the group.  The normal order of the process is Nomination & second from floor. Nominating and up to two seconding speeches from the podium, and then a 5 min speech from the candidate.  Rhoden’s nomination went off without a hitch with all the standard nominations and speeches (Matt Michels did the main nominating speech, and Dale Bartscher gave the second).

Then there was Stace Nelson’s nomination. Someone from Butte County nominated him from the floor, with an unknown second. The speeches were called for.  And there were crickets. Absolutely no one out of over 600 people would come and give a nominating speech for Nelson.  It was beyond awkward.

So Nelson came up, and gave his own speech which was at times cringe-worthy.

Stace Nelson literally had one of the worst losses in convention history. By nearly a 60% margin, 78% to 22%, the  allies of one of the AG campaigns had just been crushed in their first attempt on the convention ballot.

The other races went along without a hitch. And then the time arrived for Attorney General.

Russell had two great nominating speeches from Sen Brock Greenfield and Rachel Kippley of Brown Co.  Ravnsborg had an ok speech from Rep Les Heinemann and a great one from Sen and former Judge Art Rusch. And Fitzgerald started out by having former Rep. John Teupel yell his nominating speech for Fitzgerald angrily at the crowd.

And the voting was on.

With one county to go, it appeared that Ravnsborg might take it in the first vote with over 50%, obviating the need for a second vote.

But as confusion over certified voters for Pennington was resolved and they were able to finally cast their vote, it clearly had to go to a second vote:

Fitzgerald was out, and it was down to Russell and Ravnsborg. The chair called for a new vote immediately after a break while they got reset.  Lots of Fitzgerald people scattered. Fitzgerald was talking to a few people, and Ravnsborg started working the room.

Rep. Tim Goodwin complained to the chair that Ravnsborg was working the room. And the chair had to point out that this was the time for them to do that. Some members of a faction were not paying attention.

And the new vote was not long in coming:

With Russell picking up nearly 20,000 of Fitzgerald’s votes, over 30,000 of them moved to Ravnsborg. it was evident that the alliance on paper to try to take down Ravnsborg did not transfer over to the delegates Fitzgerald had in hand. If Fitzgerald was supposed to communicate to his people to support Russell, it didn’t happen, or it was not effective.

The race was definitively won by Ravnsborg. Russell was out, not quite as strongly as Nelson was repudiated, but the delegates he brought to Pierre were not enough to propel him to a win.

In closing, Ravnsborg gave an emotional speech how Saturday was the day his mother died 1 year ago. And now he would be able to remember it as not just a day of sadness, as he thanked the delegates, thanked the other candidates in the race, including Charlie McGuigan who had dropped out earlier, and declared to his father that he loved him.

And the chapter was closed on this phase of the race for Attorney General.

208 Replies to “So what happened? The road to the AG Nomination.”

  1. Anonymous

    Great write-up for those of us that could not attend. In the end, the better candidate was chosen who will lead us to victory in the fall election.

    I can’t wait to see Ravnsborg win in November and all the good he will do as AG.

    Reply
    1. a friend of education

      “Great write-up for those of us that could not attend.”

      Agree 100%. SUPERB description + analysis from SDWC. Frankly, that’s one of the best pieces of hard-hitting political journalism I’ve read in quite some time. Its breadth, knowledge, & erudition recall something the National Review might have published in that mag’s intellectual heyday. (I no longer read said publication. Does anyone?)

      The comparison of SDWC’s detailed account with the Argus Leader’s….lightweight coverage speaks volumes.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      The only part lacking is the part that explains how McGuigan boxed out any other serious candidates from getting in the race for nearly a year and a half. Ravnsborg benefitted greatly.

      Russell is too fringe
      Fitzgerald is old and not a great campaigner.

      No other experienced attorney had a chance to get in by the time charlie filled the lane.

      Reply
      1. a nony mous

        Fitz’s nomination speech seemed like a screamer berating the delegates into voting a certain way.

        🙁

        Reply
    3. Anonymous

      Agree! Great documentation of what happened. I was there and was anticipating any new information. You must’ve had a great English teacher. 🙂 Key point to the first part was “Ever since the primary, instead of preparing for convention to solely help Russell, Nelson packed his bags for an ego trip.”

      I wasn’t even a delegate but heard from many that they actually a) were going to vote Fitz but then turned no after the letters and then b) voted Fitz first and then Jason second. The only reason Russell minutely slighted above Fitz to begin with is his ultra-RINO affiliation geographically (IMO). Russell would’ve done much better on vote #2, however, w/o his affiliation to Nelson. OR does it just mean that we can deduce that this ‘movement’ still only comprises in the 20-30% range? Or maybe 10-14 if they hadn’t solicited folks to become delegates who would’ve otherwise been sitting home watching a fishing show on Saturday???…

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I switched on Saturday night from Fitz to Jason after the nasty flyers were distributed under my door. I mean, if you are so great, then you shouldn’t have to dog your opponents like that. Also, I didnt think a wife should be going negative like that either. It was very unbecoming of a lady.

        Reply
  2. Red Repub

    Did Nelson say “I’m a true blue…Republican” in his self proclaiming nomination speech? Explains a lot. SOOO Republican that he’s a Democrat.

    Also, kudos to Ravnsborg. He worked hard and earned the support of grassroots republicans statewide. Fitzgerald and Russell are good guys who just couldn’t pull it off. SDGOP has a great slate!

    Reply
  3. Steve Hickey

    Thanks for the play by play. Still think November will be a real challenge for Ravnsborg. Can someone explain why he avoided the media questions about his trial experience and how he plans to get past those concerns in the fall?

    Despite the frequent false humilities – poor sinner broken down Marine yada yada – there isn’t a drip of Christian humility in Stace Nelson and the irony is… he is apparently oblivious to his humiliation/s. How did his recount go?

    If I was there I’d have stood up and given a (roast) nominating speech for him in the vein of Rep Bolin’s best orations from the House Floor. If I didn’t have better things to do I’d pen some of those thoughts for you here. It would have started with something like this…. I’ll just fill a moment or two here with some comments, probably Big Stace needs couple extra minutes to get back from the crapper in time for the vote.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    It appears that Ravnsborg has learned quite a bit since 2014.

    He will do fine int he fall…no one knows who Randy Seiler is outside of small legal circles.

    Reply
  5. Chplraj

    So WHO wrote this? Pat P. Or someone else? Just sounds like verbage from the “new” party insiders (metrosexuals) in tone. WHO was on counting votes ? Any names? Fitzgerald was most qualified candidate and if the “new” party insiders have decided that office holders will be those who do their beck and call year round that leaves out 90%+ Republicans as they work. Just some thoughts here in reaction to this article which appears smug???SD could turn blue this 2018

    Reply
    1. William Beal

      Each candidate had their own hand-picked representative assigned to the credentials / tabulating group who unanimously approved the results of the election.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      WTH does this post even mean? Please explain why wearing clothes that fit, keeping your hair nice and generally having a decent and respectful appearance is a negative?

      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      Said the left-wing nutjob. Sounds like a Hillary-!oving, Trump-hating Dem who wasn’t there and isn’t a registered Republican, so why do I care about your thoughts on the outcone? Oh, I don’t.

      Reply
    4. Anonymous

      Agree Chplraj!! I thought we were about experience and besides Fitzgerald and his family have tirelessly worked for the Republicans for years – not just the past few.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Congratulations to Randy Seiler South Dakota’s next Attorney General! A great South Dakotan, nice guy, Vietnam Vet with a lengthy history of serving our state and nation.

    Reply
    1. enquirer

      once it is made clear that seiler will wage none of the traditional legal fights republicans expect from the a-g; no effort to stand against abortion, no effort to join in multistate fights against federal overreach, but a new AG support for suits to oppose the president and congressional republicans, seileright not look so good. what do republicans want from their AG, what will seiler do instead? this must be explored.

      Reply
  7. William Beal

    The 1% margin between Russell & Fitzgerald on the first ballot and the fact 60% of his followers switched to Ravnsborg in the runoff, indicates Fitzgerald’s campaign had indeed picked up momentum before the Friday night banquet, likely moving him into the 2nd place position ahead of Russell.

    Without the negative flyers on the banquet tables, where campaign literature was supposed to be absent, I think Russell would have been the candidate eliminated after the first ballot was tallied.

    Reply
    1. Anne Beal

      Absolutely. Russell knew the flyers on the tables and under the doors would alienate Fitz’s delegates, solidify the Ravnsborg delegates, and would never be seen by his own delegates, who didn’t arrive until Saturday morning.

      If it hadn’t been for that, Fitz might have survived the first round.

      Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Yes, Fitzgerald lost bad by joining Russell and SDGO on that flyer. That and Mary trashing Jason for nearly a year.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Mary was horrible. She was the worst thing for Fitzgerald’s campaign. She helped him lose because of her bullying and whining.

      Reply
        1. Anonymous

          She is NOT off limits because she put herself in the fight and lying about the other candidates personally.

          I have personally heard her harass delegates with her smug attitude that how dare you not vote for John.

          Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Biggest tactical error of the year when Fitzgerald allowed himself to be sucked into Zach Lautenschlager and Russell’s games. Had he stayed clear, he just might have pulled it off on the second round.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I think I agree. Fitz could’ve done well argumentatively against Seiler and experience. Sad thing is, he blew it…

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Is this Mary or stace? Ambushing somewhat at the last minute with a poorly organize debate just to bash him is horrible. I don’t blame Ravnsborg for not wanting to do the debate. No one could trust it would be fair.

        Reply
      2. Anne Beal

        He slept for 3 hours? Sounds about right.
        He was still in his hospitality room when we called it a night. They all were. Nobody was hiding.

        Reply
    1. Pat Powers

      There was never going to be one. Did you not read the post? They didn’t have a place to have it, and Ravnsborg did not let him self get sucked in by the other two candidates attempted tactic.

      Reply
  10. Anny

    Jason visited every county twice…? Oh, right he had time because he doesn’t have a real full time job. SD will be blue in Nov for the AG race.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Real Conservatives can’t wait to vote against Ravnsborg in November 2018. That way, perhaps South Dakota can have real investigations/prosecutions into Republican establishment criminality over the last decade or more. This is the primary reason, Marty Jacka**, the Jeff Sessions of South Dakota, lost — simply because he refused to do his job.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        No, a REAL conservative would either a) vote R come November (unity, that’s what it’s all about after the primary) or b) LEAVE the party forever.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Wait, hold up. This is dumb. While I hate Stace with a passion (he is a grandiose bully and just flat out dumb), being a conservative doesn’t mean putting party above all else.

          Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Is that you Stace, or another whiny twit? What are YOU qualified to do? Comment on blogs while you check to see if anyone responded to your online dating profile?

      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      He is an attorney and protecting the country in the army reserves. What a moronic argument against a winner. Anny, are you a Dem or a sore loser who supported Fitz or Russel? Either way your opinion isn’t important to Republicans who plan to continue the fight against the left-wing.

      Reply
  11. anon

    Yea, I agree with 2:38. I intended to vote for Fitz – and had for a long time – but I quickly changed to Jason after I saw Fritz’s name at the bottom of the despicable joint press release. Fritz screwed up big time. He might possibly be the most accomplished lawyer of the three, but nobody wants a political idiot for an AG – and that’s exactly what I was seeing by his actions. His strategic screw-up was aligning with Lautenschlager, arguably the most hated person in SD politics, and in playing games with Russell, arguably the biggest bag of wind west of Fulton.

    Reply
  12. Troy Jones

    It goes to prove again it is “tried and true” because it works. For months, we kept hearing how and why the”never works” was going be successful.

    Thanks for the blow by blow but in away it was predictable. Fitz didn’t understand politics and Lance got sucked into a hole he couldn’t get out of while Jason just plodded on.

    Reply
  13. Steve

    Anny sure sounds like bitter opponents….disrespectful and disgusting….

    Convention is over…we need this sniping to stop and support Ravnsborg not attack him from within

    He worked hard did not play dirty and is the winner…he earned it

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Too bad Ravnsborg is utterly and completely unqualified to be Attorney General. Conservative Republicans can’t wait to vote against Ranvsborg.

      Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Even if your statement is true, Trump is doing better than Obummer ever did and certainly better than that deplorable Hillary.

          Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Stace. You are active today. Very jealous i see that you lost big time over the weekend. Maybe you should retire as no one like you.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          So anyone who does not agree with Ravnsborg being nominated nor the best AG candidate going into the general election automatically called Stace or Mary?

          Reply
      2. Anonymous

        Is that you Stace, or another whiny twit? What are YOU qualified to do? Comment on blogs while you check to see if anyone responded to your online dating profile?

        Reply
  14. Troy

    “Conservative Republicans can’t wait to vote against Ranvsborg.”

    Whoever these people are, if they can’t wait to vote for a pro-abortion, Obamacare appointee, they are nothing but loyal liberal Democrats.

    Or very immature.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Troy, party over people? We will find out in November but plenty of people look at Randy Seiler as far more qualified to be the Attorney General vs Jason Ravnsborg. There are those voters out there that are getting tired of the party politics and vote the person. Seiler does not strike me as some nutcase liberal.

      Reply
  15. Anne Beal

    My only regret about Friday night is that I didn’t get a video of what happened when Florence Thompson tried to give Roger Meyer a Lance Russell button.

    Reply
  16. Troy Jones

    Not party over people. Hilarious coming from you after listening to your lectures on the platform and scorecards.

    JR was chosen by 63% of the Republicans I trusted to choose the AG nominee. I like having an AG who shares my principles and has serious management chops (unless you think being a military officer is a joke).

    Randy Seiler is a good attorney who will lead the office with liberal goals.

    But the RINOs are showing their true loyalties and it is not conservative principles.

    Reply
  17. a friend of education

    Randy Seiler will likely join the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Maryland (joined already by DC and NY) claiming our President is a paid Russian agent + NeoNazi + hater of puppies & kittens + other silly slanders. Total waste of time.

    Reply
  18. John M. Fitzgerald

    At about 1:00pm on Friday John Tuepel told me he was trying to a schedule a debate. I thought it sounded like a great idea. JR has never prosecuted a case to trial and I thought the delegates should be aware of that. JR was nowhere to be found. We went back up to my family’s hospitality room to make posters. “Debate 8:00 pm,” etc. We got back down to the floor at about 3:00. At 4:07 pm JR nervously walked past me, then turned and shook my hand. This was the first and only conversation I have ever had with him. He said, “is John Tuepel looking for me?” I said yes, he wants to schedule a debate for tonight. JR said, “The last night of the convention?” I said yes. JR then ran away from me down the hallway. He ran away not joking.
    I informed Tuepel that I had spoken with JR and that he had ran away from me without giving an answer. I did this as my father and Tuepel hurriedly attended the poolside meeting with the Rotschlaughter and Russel. Unbenouced to the family the joint statement was signed at this poolside meeting. The family always persisted that a debate should be had but was against this joint statement after learning about it at the dinner.
    Later at the hospitality rooms we ran into delegates who were “offended” by the blue flyer as I will call it. A delegate told me if was “offensive,” I asked why? She said because JR was never given any prior notice. I said I shook his hand at 4:07 and told him about the debate, and that he ran away and that Tuepel had been looking for him for hours.
    She then said, “well it was in poor taste.” I said what about having a debate at the convention was in poor taste? She then just starred at me and said well it shows he was having something to do with Russel and that, that was bad. I then said well he is the other candidate and he agreed to the debate. I then gave up as it was not getting anywhere. After I left, some drunk guy who supposedly looked like me started yelling at JR in his hospitality room.
    On Saturday morning I was confronted with Spencer Gosch appologizing to me because he thought I was the drunk guy yelling at JR in his hospitality room on Friday night. I’ve seen JR about 25 times he knows who I am, I’ve also known Aaron Lorenzen a JR handler for 15 years. Whoever this drunk imbecile was that was yelling at JR on Friday night it was not me. And JR could have cleared that up, but he didn’t because he wanted to play the victim and smear our campaign just like he did with the flyer. I was dismayed that so many delegates were offended by this flyer and needed a “safe space,” at the convention, free from confrontation. I think the flyer killed our campaign but it shouldn’t have. Isn’t this supposedly the party of Trump? Last time I looked Republicans weren’t offended by challenges to someone’s record or their ideas or by much of anything at all.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      That whole post is mind-boggling in the fact that you can’t understand why a last minute debate AT THE CONVENTION was a bad idea. Shame on John Tuepel then. HOWEVER, what the what with you and Russell coming out with fliers under ALL doors?? You share the blame and shame then, plain and simple. John, you lost MANY delegates for that stunt. It was between you and Ravnsborg. Had you stayed the course, you might’ve surprised yourself. The loss falls on your hands. I was impressed by you and your story early on. AG doesn’t go to trial from what I know. They organize the right people to do that out of many staff members. You might’ve originally been the best option in November but your scruples were tested and you failed. Best of luck to you.

      Reply
    2. Bill

      John,
      This so-called debate was a last minute publicity attempt to try and ambush Ravnsborg for your own benefit. You know, and everyone else knows it. Don’t act all mighty and try to blame Ravsnborg. I wasn’t at the convention but have read and heard enough accounts to know this debate was a joke. I also have met Ravnsborg, he doesn’t run from anything.

      If the debate was needed, then it should have been arranged weeks in advance and not at the last minute. That alone shows what a joke the “debate” was going to be.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        “I also have met Ravnsborg, he doesn’t run from anything.”

        If so, Why would he not return calls from the media regarding questions? They will come up again.

        Reply
    3. Anonymous

      Spell check, John…
      RUSSELL not Russel
      LAUTENSCHLAGER not Rotschlaughter
      and (your own campaign manager)
      TEUPLE not Tueple

      Reply
    4. Tim Bormann

      I found myself in an extended conversation with the afore-mentioned “drunk guy” in Jason’s hospitality room Friday evening and once and for all he was NOT John M Fitzgerald.

      Reply
    5. Lincoln County Delegate

      I spoke with the aforementioned intoxicated individual Friday, along with individuals that witnessed the confrontation in JR’s hospitality suites, as well as in other hospitality suites. The individuals that witnessed what happened in JR’s room never once said that it was you John. In fact when others that asked them after hearing about what happened with “John’s son” in the hospitality suite they corrected them saying it was not you.

      However, where I did hear the rumor that people thought it you was in other hospitality suites where that individual had also made a scene and had actually been removed. People that witnessed what happened in JR’s room again corrected those individuals saying that it was not you that. Unfortunately, by the time people who had actually witnessed what had happened in JR’s room made it around to other rooms and found that similar things had happened with the same individual, most of the people who witnessed what happened in those other rooms left with the impression that it was you.

      But to blame JR and his team for spreading the rumor it was you is a flat out lie. They did anything but spread that.

      Reply
    6. Anonymous

      “I said yes, he wants to schedule a debate for tonight.”

      “She said because JR was never given any prior notice. I said I shook his hand at 4:07 and told him about the debate…”

      Notice? 4-hours “notice” and you’re complaining? First, this wasn’t NOTICE, it was FLOATING AN IDEA. You hadn’t secured a venue, arranged topics or questions, or identified a moderator. This was floating an idea with 4 hours to go. You hadn’t even “notified” party leaders at their own convention!

      This entire post does John a disservice. He is a good and experienced prosecutor. His run for AG fell short. Let him lose with class. Trash like this only smears his legacy.

      If Jason ran away, good job Jason! Sometimes, the only thing you can do is identify a bad situation and get outta there. If he ran away, it’s your fault! You can’t expect him to brainstorm a debate for statewide office with 4 hours “notice”.

      This whole argument is pure nonsense.

      Reply
    7. Chplraj

      Good one John but only about 35% of those who follow this blog will “get” what you just said. This SD GOP. Has started and has chosen to self-destruct. You would have been in the way. SD GOP.leaders could not even shine Trumps shoes……they are not cut from same cloth but you know that. South Dakota is fed up with HOP. Jason is a “cup beater” for 2 kings who run the whole show and they are the sort that a Jezebel would choose or?????

      Reply
    8. Anonymous

      Teupel has been toxic at conventions for a long time. He consistently tries to bully delegates. This was not the first campaign delegates have seen him go too far pointing fingers in chests and scolding people for being on the wrong team. He’s a really bad campaign leader.

      Reply
  19. Mary Fitzgerald

    Great comment John. I saw Mr Powers at the convention on Saturday and asked him why people are allowed to say terrible things about me on his blog. Mr Powers looked confused like he was unaware of the horrible comments. I have suspected all along the comments were made by JR or one of his friends. I was attacked because I was an advocate for my husband. The JR team also sent text messages out about my daughter in the morning on the day of the election. So it’s acceptable to attack a spouse, a daughter and the son of a candidate but people were offended by a flyer? Let’s direct our attention to the individual that was afraid to debate one of the best lawyers in the state. He knew John would destroy him in a debate. Let’s direct our attention to that person. If you allow people to attack the spouse of a candidate on your blog, what kind of man are you Mr Powers?

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Read the timeline again regarding the debate. Banquet planned until 9:00, hospitality rooms starting at 9:00. Why debate at 8??? Completely ridiculous. Pat reports the facts with his own twist of humor and knowledge of facts (which some might not like). His blog. I’ve not been happy with it several times myself for my own candidate(s) but I return knowing – it’s his blog.

      And if YOU’RE attacking, you’re fair game. Even if you’re a MINO… (I know, you’re not but you get the point).

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        They wanted an unscheduled debate during an event honoring gov Farrar and Kristi…talk about appalling!!

        And selfish…theywere desperate..horrible campaign ..which they still dont take ANY responsibility for…

        #growup

        #sorelosers

        Reply
        1. Concerned republican

          Can someone please explain to me how it’s okay to elect an attorney general who has never tried a case as a prosecutor? This is the person responsible for prosecuting the toughest criminals and cases in our state and we don’t require experience! Talk about appalling! Would you let a med student perform your surgery.
          He is supposed to be the head prosecutor of our state and we aren’t concerned that he’s never tried a case as a prosecutor? That’s the real question all the delegates should have been asking themselves. Not caught up in politcal tactics. Now as a republican I’m asked to vote for someone who is completely unqualified or someone who is an Obama appointee. Truly appalling. Please will a qualified candidate come forward and run on another ticket. Someone I can vote for in good conscience. Please, there are a lot of Republicans like me out there that will support you!

          Reply
          1. William Beal

            While this “never tried a case as a prosecutor” claim has been debunked many times before, a simple google search can provide you with public records documenting cases Ravnsborg has prosecuted. Here’s a link to one for a First Degree Rape case (there are others, but you can find them easily enough, if you really wish to): http://unioncountysd.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Matney-Cooper-Todd-17-073-PR-11-03-17.pdf

            Of course, you could also contact the Union County States Attorney’s Office, if you really wanted to know. Ask for Jerry Miller.

            “Jerry Miller, Union County States Attorney – Jason is a hard working attorney. As a prosecutor in my office, Jason fights hard for victims and I have the utmost confidence in his abilities in the courtroom. I have often discussed criminal and civil matters with him and find him extremely knowledgeable in all areas of the law. He is a well-rounded candidate that brings together not only courtroom experience, but also a proven ability to work with legislators. Jason fights to make good laws, great and to avoid the pit falls of poorly drafted legislation. Jason can directly benefit all citizens of South Dakota as our next Attorney General! “

            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              So you are saying that Mary spreading the rumors of Ravnsborg with no experience was a lie? I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

              Reply
            2. Concerned republican

              Do you realize the link you sent proves this case was not tried before a jury and please everyone, take notice Jerry Miller does not say that Jason has tried a case as a prosecutor. He has “discussed” cases with him. We are going to need a lot more from our AG than that. We can’t just hand out plea agreements to every criminal! He is actually going to have to try cases before jurys. Again, can anyone say that electing an AG that has never tried a case as a prosecutor is what’s best for our state and our victims of crime. Can any jason supporter please stand up and say why that’s ok! No more lies about his record just defend it already!

              Reply
              1. William Beal

                Your claim was “tried a case as a prosecutor.”

                You were wrong.

                Do your own homework. I don’t have time to do it for you.

                Reply
                1. Concerned republican

                  “Trying a case” means taking it to a “Trial”. What you are referring to are “settled” cases. Meaning offers were given in exchange for guilty pleas. Jason may not understand the difference given his lack of experience, however, full time, experienced prosecuting lawyers do understand the difference. The hard cases get “tried” not “settled”. Victims need a fierce, well trained attorney that can fight for them in the courtroom not just sign a piece of paper. Jasons claim that he has prosecuted the toughest cases is a lie since the toughest cases are rarely settled. No need doing your homework when you are the one teaching the class.

                  Reply
              1. William Beal

                Do you have any evidence of that claim, or are you simply regurgitating what you’ve heard.

                The claim about was “tried a case as a prosecutor.”

                You were wrong.

                Do your own homework. I don’t have time to do it for you.

                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  William, besides you and Anne being annoying blathering boils on the process, you continue to defend Ravnsborg, a Lederman-Roetman mainstream plant to keep Lance Russell and Fitzgerald from the nomination, by claiming something that Jason himself has had the temerity to claim only vaguely and only once, at the Meade County Lincoln Day dinner.

                  Even the Union County Clerk of Courts is on tape saying that Jason has NEVER tried a felony jury trial. Unless you also have a job inside the Union County Courthouse, I’ll take her word above yours every day from now til judgment day….where Jason will again likely also plead the case out rather than going to trial.

                  Anyone who bashes Stace Nelson constantly with horribly drawn and sophomorically conceived collaborative cartoons with the inimitable Pat Powers and defends Jason Ravnsborg has disqualified themselves from serious consideration. Lederman. Former Democrat. Larry Rhoden. Former Democrat. Jason Ravnsborg? It seems fairly obvious who would more comfortably count themselves as ‘true blue,’ than as actual libertarian populist Republicans in the present moment.

                  Hush.

                  Reply
            3. Heckifino

              That’s a change of plea case. Meaning JR didn’t try the case the defendant pled guilty as part of a plea agreement. This link doesn’t debunk anything.

              Reply
    2. Bill

      Mary,
      Are you kidding that you are so innocent? All I have heard from multiple people is how you called them up or met them over the campaign and tried to bully them into support for your husband. You are fair game on here as you have posted many times anonymously in support of your husband. Its ok to want to support your husband, but bullying and lying about his opponents is wrong.

      Weather your husband could or could not beat Ravnsborg in a debate is questionable. Had it been a neutral debate your husband would have lost because of his lack of knowledge on issues. Never once did anyone here him talk about issues. But we all know this last minute debate was an ambush for Ravnsborg. It would have been anything . but neutral.

      Reply
    3. Pat Powers Post author

      Mary, that’s not exactly correct. I believe it was “Why are you saying mean things about me,” as you threw something at me, but hit my daughter.

      There have been plenty of aggressive campaigning on all parts by anonymous commenters here, as well as by those elsewhere in social media:

      I personally think the time for the Republican campaign is over, that the winners should be congratulated, that those who tried and didn’t make it are thanked, and that we should all move on as one party to the fall.

      Reply
    4. a nony mous

      So it’s acceptable to attack a spouse, a daughter and the son of a candidate but people were offended by a flyer?

      “I guess I would ask all the Democrats attacking the family of President Trump.”

      Reply
  20. MAGA

    I’m sure Trump would have given him the name “Lyin Jason” and relentlessly attacked him and his joke of a prosecutorial record (ZERO trials). Who decides not to vote for the most qualified candidate because they feel sorry for someone who is asked to defend his record but instead runs away like a coward. Should we have voted for Hilary because Trump was “too hard” on her or “too offensive”? GIVE ME A BREAK. The other two canidates asked for a debate, which for some reason is offensive, so let’s completely abandon our principals and vote for the most unqualified candidate. Really? These delgates should be ashamed. Here’s an idea, he’s an attorney, do the debate and defend your record. If you’re the best canidate for the job, you should be able to do that in your sleep. If he can’t do that, how is going stand up againt Seiler or the Mexican cartels for that matter. But no, lets get mad at the two qualified candidates and elect someone who can’t get the job done. Good job delegates. Sad day to be a Republican in SD. I wish Seiler good luck and I hope he is our next AG!

    Reply
      1. MAGA

        Either you are not a Trump supporter or you have forgotten our last presidential primary. It was a political blood bath. Anything but polically sensitive or correct. Trump was ruthless against his competitors “Lyin Ted”, “Little Rubio” and “Low Energy Jeb”. And our delegates were offended by last minute flyers highlighting Jason’s gross incompetence, lack of experience and lies to the delegates? Jason is just lucky Trump wasn’t running for AG or he really would have had something to run and hide from. Until a Republican can explain to me why it is ok to elect an AG that has never done a trial as a prosecutor I will be voting for the most qualified candidate, Randy Seiler, and be encouraging all the Republicans I know to do the same! MAGA

        Reply
  21. Steve

    I am so sick and tired of the Fitzgeralds…they team up with Lance and Stace and lautenslaher and do it in the open …they got exposed that they were working together and they still blame Jason

    They lost not just to Jason but to Lance….they came in last. 26% that will unite the party? Please

    Be a good loser….John should have endorsed Jason on the spot..so should have Lance.

    Jason gave them each a shout out and asked for round of applause in his acceptance speech

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Just shows you Steve the class-act Ravnsborg is. I am very glad we have him as our candidate for November. Fitzgerald and Lance showed everyone why they were not fit to be the Republican candidate.

      Reply
  22. Kevin W Nelson

    Thank you for your exhaustive and entertaining piece. I was thinking about Jason Raunsborg “running away” from discussion about the proposed debate Friday nite. At the State Fair Republican booth, He was the first one there to open it up. He was still standing at the front table greeting people passing by in the hot afternoon sun. He was anything but running away.

    .

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    Do you think former AG Bill Janklow would have run and hid from a debate. He would have taken his opponents head on. Instead of debating, Jason ran to his safe place.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Even “if” they had a place to debate! There was no debate scheduled, it was a thought, an idea, with nothing behind it! You can’t attack a person for skipping an event that was never organized and scheduled!

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Why not say, I’m up for it, if it can actually be scheduled, its fair and approved by the party leaders. Not run away and hide. Quite telling I must say but nice excuses.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          They just should have had the debate without him and let everyone draw their own conclusions why he didn’t show. But who could have guessed the delegates would have thrown such a ridiculous fit.

          Reply
  24. Anonymous

    The convention is over.

    The Fitzgeralds lost
    The Russell’s lost

    Ravnsborg won. He is our nominee. We need to come together and support him.

    Ravnsborg was gracious in winning they need to be gracious in losing.

    Reply
        1. Concerned Republican

          I guess it makes you nervous to think there are a lot of us out here who are unhappy with the party right now so you need to try and convince everyone it’s mary or stacie….well guess what I’m not mary or stacie. I’m a young new delegate and I was saddened by what I saw at the convention. People being thrown out for violence. Lies being thrown everwhere. People changing their votes for ridiculous reasons. We can do better. We have to do better or a blue wave will hit on the fall

          Reply
  25. Anonymous

    Jason avoided Russell’s last minute ambush, and Fitz got sucked into a last minute ambush. Fitz was playing checkers, Russell was playing Chess, and Jason Ravnsborg was genuinely working the delegates for the past year. Also, he missed calls from a reporter a few weeks ago BECAUSE HE WAS AT MILITARY TRAINING. Mary, you know this and yet you keep perpetuating the lie.

    Reply
      1. William Beal

        He was on active duty at a military base.

        Members of the active-serving armed forces are subject to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, titled: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces. The intent of this directive essentially mirrors Hatch Act provisions for federal civilian employees, they may not engage in political activity while on duty, in a government office or while wearing an official uniform.

        Reply
  26. Troy Jones

    I think it was Clint Roberts but maybe Jim Abdnor (sometimes those Lyman County guys can sound the same) said “once the election is over, it is over. Don’t look back, look forward.”

    Analyze what you must to learn what to do or not do in the future but it does no good to re-litigate it. It is not a dream. One always wins. The question is always if the others are losers.

    Reply
  27. Call for Unity

    Time to move on…Ravnsborg won overwhelmingly….it is insulting to delegates to rehash their vote….

    Everyone underestimates him…he just beat two undefeated career politicians who are claiming they are more qualified than him. Says a lot about him.

    Make it 3 with Charlie Mcguigan.

    He has worked tirelessly and won.

    Time for the other 2 to endorse and support the Republican nominee. Would they not have expected Ravnsborg to help support them if they had won?

    Reply
  28. Steve Sibson

    “Stace Nelson literally had one of the worst losses in convention history. By nearly a 60% margin, 78% to 22%”

    Again I see the 20% plus support for true no compromise conservatives, while the liberal and/or indoctrinated loyalists for the Establishment hold the majority. The result is we sadly now have the least experienced and by far the least qualified candidate running for AG. And that explains why there was no debate. JR would have been crushed by the two far more qualified candidates.

    This is what happens when we ignore conservative principles and instead determine our candidates based on popularity, meaning…who is accepted by the liberal Establishment and who is not. Now they are demanding that conservatives are to unite with the liberal majority and vote Republican come November. I will not vote for the unqualified Republican for AG, nor will I vote for Dusty.

    And if Larry Rhoden continues saying the big lie, that Republicans stand for smaller government, then I may not vote for the Noem/Rhoden ticket. Thanks to liberal Republicans joining in with Democrat’s, we are all now paying a 4.5% sales tax as South Dakota’s Government, along with federal money, has risen enormously during the Daugaard administration. This is what happens when Majority Leaders bully conservative legislators for not voting in lock step with what the governor wants passed. Which is the second reason why I may not vote for the Noem/Rhoden ticket.

    Reply
    1. William Beal

      “No compromise”

      “Be careful not to compromise what you want most, for what you want now.” – Zig Ziglar

      “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.” – Edmund Burke

      Reply
    2. SSD

      Rhoden wasn’t in the legislature at the time SD voted for the big tax increase. One of the reasons I couldn’t wait for him to get back in the legislature to bring back some conservative common sense. If he would have been serving at that time I doubt we would have that increase.

      Reply
  29. Anon

    Fact remains:
    1) the least qualified candidate won
    2) Jackleys choice won…. jackley has covered up too many scandals to count which is why he was defeated
    3) the new younger Republican Party is getting tired of business as usual
    4) the Democrats will continue to gain strength as long a republicans keep putting up candidates party leadership can control and are unqualified for the job

    Reply
    1. Steve Sibson

      I would amend point 4 to say that the independents will continue to gain strength. The Democrats have not and will not gain strength as long as they continue to follow the lead of people like Cory Heidelberger.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        We will be ok as long as CAH and his regular nutcases over there continue reduce numbers in their party.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Wrong on your facts. The most qualified candidate won, Ravnsborg was the only one that had leadership and management experience. Fitzgerald and Russell had little to no experience, which is was is required as an AG.

      Hence why Fitzgerald came in last place and Russell lost soundly in the 2nd vote.

      Reply
  30. John M. Fitzgerald

    John M. Fitzgerald, also known as little Fitz, is the son of John H. Fitzgerald the candidate for AG. Just to clear that up.

    Reply
  31. Anon

    We had a very competitive household growing up and my parents instilled on all of us kids that while being a gracious winner is important, what shows true character is being a gracious loser. What I am ultimately seeing here is a bunch of grown adults who would likely be angry at their children for acting the exact same way they are now. We are a party that calls out the “liberal snowflakes” for throwing a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way, yet many of us are now doing the same thing. You played the game of politics. You lost. Be an adult. The convention is over. The decision is final. Tip your hat to the person that won and be an example of how to lose graciously. You will get much farther on that path than the one you are on now.

    Reply
  32. Troy Jones

    Concerned Republican,

    It is my opinion being “chief prosecutor” is the absolutely least important role of the AG for these reasons.

    1). It is a skill that can be hired on a case by case by specialty required (e.g murder, white collar crime, blue collar crime. Etc.

    2). Good prosecutors have an ability to give their undivided focus to that trial over a long period of time. We can not afford to have our AG so singularly focused (See #4 below).

    3). People have a tendency to spend their most time where they think they are best and we would be ill-served with an AG who spends too much time prosecuting (see #4 below).

    4). AG’s have responsibiliies they can not delegate (unlike hiring a prosecutor as in #1 above) such as overseeing DCI and the full cadre of attorneys who are providing counsel to all State departments and agencies, assessing national actions like overturning Obamacare, and communicating with the public on law enforcement and consumer fraud issues.

    In short, my first criteria is related to the items in #4 and work my way up and not vice versa. JR has the most management experience of the three making him the most qualified in my eyes. But I refrained from expressing a particular preference as the responsibility to discern the best AG was the delegates. I am pleased they confirmed my preference by picking the candidate who can handle the most critical components. LR and JF May have been able to do it as well but I never once saw them speak to those areas.

    Reply
    1. Heckifino

      Troy, I generally enjoy and agree with your thoughts. This time? Not so much. You say your first criteria is #4. What experience does JR have that he could remotely oversee the DCI? They are criminal investigators who routinely take the big cases and go to trial. Yes, the AG oversees a cadre of attorney’s which include criminal prosecutors, appellate prosecutors and civil attorney’s. What experience does JR have in giving strategic advice to the criminal attorney’s? What experience does JR have in arguing appeals before the state Supreme Court?

      I don’t disagree that he can manage and lead in many instances. He clearly is a patriot and great American and has achieved a lot in armed forces. But does he have the boots on the ground experience to make the DCI investigators and AG attorney’s better or As you state in point 2 going to have to hire specialty attorney’s to try the difficult cases or to seek strategic trial consultation.

      I also am concerned JR is using the AG position as a stepping stone to further his political goals. He ran for senate previously. Wasn’t elected. Now he’s running for AG. Does he want to be a politician or the state’s top prosecutor? We need an AG to concentrate on being the AG to get a handle on the drug issues and jail issues that hamper our counties.

      It’s a quandary that many like myself need to reconcile before the general election.

      Reply
  33. Concerned republican

    I do agree that there is alot involved in being the AG but lets get real: a lead prosecutor that hasn’t prosecuted?? You can dance around that fact anyway you want but good luck convincing anyone with half a brain to agree with you in the general election. Managing troops is different than managing the AG’s office. You have to first possess the skills of a seasoned prosecutor to lead other prosecutors. The military doesn’t have its privates leading troops into battle. That job is reserved for the generals. And how do you become a general…..Experience. Good Luck in the fall…you are going to need it!!!

    Reply
    1. William Beal

      You don’t seem to understand the actual job of the Attorney General. The AG hires and oversees lawyers, he is not the “lead prosecutor”, as that’s a subordinate position. The position is an Executive position, not that of a trial lawyer. The Office of the Attorney General prosecutes, but only a small percentage of the actual AG’s time is spent on individual cases, or in a courtroom.

      Ask Marty Jackley, if you don’t believe me.

      “The Attorney General of South Dakota presides over an executive department administered in Pierre, South Dakota. The department oversees numerous public services, including processing South Dakota State Identification Cards, administering the South Dakota Criminal Justice Data Center, running the Missing Child Center, the Child Support Enforcement Agency, the Children Task Force, Tobacco Enforcement Unit etc.”

      https://attorney-general.laws.com/south-dakota-attorney-general

      Reply
      1. Concerned Republican

        So just to be clear… It’s your position that an attorney general doesn’t need any experience prosecuting cases. And no, I do not count Jason’s volunteer time as a deputy state’s attorney when he was actually on the road campaigning. Do you even know what Marty jackley was doing before he became our attorney general… He was the United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota. But you’re right, I’m sure he would agree that prosecuting experience is irrelevant. In fact, that was probably his campaign slogan (that was a joke by the way). Well if the goal was to elect a politician and not a prosecutor we got the job done . But good luck selling that bill of goods in the general election. Please someone step up and give us a real candidate we can vote for!!!

        Reply
        1. William Beal

          Just to be clear, you misrepresent or misunderstand, what I’ve said..

          You made a factually incorrect claim that I corrected and apparently do not understand what the actual duties of the divisions in his office, that he oversees.

          Your argument regarding prosecution appears to me, more relevant to the role of Division Director – Deputy Attorney General.

          Feel free to disagree, but my position is: It’s more relevant for the AG to have executive leadership & administrative skills than those of a trial lawyer. I hope I’ve cleared that up.

          https://atg.sd.gov/OurOffice/Departments/criminal.aspx#

          Reply
          1. Concerned Republican

            I understand the point you are making and i respectfully disagree. Under your logic, why even seek out attorneys for the position at all. We should turn to the business sector where you can find the most highly qualified managers and executives. At some point, you have to admit its hard to manage that which you don’t know. But is it just too difficult for his supporters to admit his lack of experience and past incompetence is going to be a problem. I think everyone knows it… they just can’t say it…which I guess is understanable given you have to face seiler in the fall.

            Reply
            1. William Beal

              Actually, the requirements for the office don’t actually state that one must be an attorney. I agree that I consider it a desired qualification, but the lack of a law degree would not necessarily be disqualifying (to me), if their leadership, management, policy skills and understanding of the office compensated for that.

              In any large law office the duties between and within departments are specialized and the duties of the “managing partner” are very different than those who specialize in one specific area of the law.

              The best trial lawyers in the AG office should be in the courtroom, not necessarily in the Executive Suite. For that matter, I suspect most lawyers with a passion for trial work would be quite dissatisfied spending their days in meetings and the office, rather than court.

              Reply
        2. Anonymous

          NEWS FLASH…
          95 percent of South Dakotans are not “touched” by crime and even fewer are actual criminals! Henceforth, the prosecutorial prowess of an attorney general is way down the list of desired and necessary qualifications

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            Wow this comment hardly deserves a response but I have met with victims of crime and trust me to them it matters.

            Reply
  34. Tina

    I’m confused how Jason even got the nomination. I heard him speak last summer at a luncheon and he was discussing the ballot issues and the fact the prison was full of people with marijuana convictions. He had no idea what he was talking about. Thanks to SB 70 felony drug possession cases (meth, heroin) defendants are given presumptive probation. Not prison sentences. Second, the Scott Miller case, Miller was convicted of 2nd degree murder. Jason was late filing the habeas proceedings. Was he late filing because he was busy campaigning? Late because of the military? Or late because he never read the statute? Lastly, it has been verified with the Union County Clerk of Courts that he has never done a jury trial in Union County where he volunteers. I’m concerned how he is supposed to give staff advice and help with cases if he lacks the experience, can’t follow deadlines, and doesn’t really understand how the system works. I don’t foresee him beating Seiler though.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Well said. Sounds like we did Seiler’s work for him…gave him a canidate riddled with vulnerabilities.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Tina,
      Where did get your facts, I question everything you write. There has been so many attempts to discredit Ravnsborg that I highly doubt what you claim in this Scott Miller case. I want proof, I am so tired of everyone making up crap.

      Secondly, your opinion on how you thought he spoke. I have heard him speak and talked with many others that have had nothing but compliments for him and his knowledge. So again this is an opinion and none factual. I never heard Fitzgerald or Russell talk about a single issue during the campaign.

      Lastly, you state you have verified he has not done a jury trial? Show me the proof, I would imagine that over his law career he has done many jury trials. I would argue with you that weather you are a prosecutor or a defense attorney it is all similar. You have to research past court cases, look at evidence, interview people, etc. To me that is all the same law experience that is needed.

      Reply
  35. Troy Jones

    Concerned Republican,

    When you become a General, you direct a myriad of troops, including those who do things you have never done. Your analogy only proves my point.

    Since I blew a hole in your argument with my half a brain, do you then admit to being a quarter brain? Seriously, if you want an AG who is a great prosecutor who would have to hire and rely on others for all his other jobs, that is your priority and you get a vote.

    I want an AG with the brains to hire good prosecutors so he can lead all the other management and policy areas. To defer such high level decisions I think nonsense. And I get a vote equal to yours.

    Reply
    1. Steve Sibson

      So the establishment doesn’t want an AG who is good at persecuted criminal activity. They want an administrator to implement the Establishment’s agenda. I already knew that.

      Reply
    2. Concerned Republican

      My point WAS…privates (lowest rank in military) don’t lead our troops into battle…why, no experience. In the prosecutorial world jason is what should be referred to as a “legal private”. You have just elected a “legal private” to lead our states attorneys into the battle against the toughest crime and criminals. What we needed was a “legal general”. How do you hire and oversee other prosecutors when you yourself have never done the job. And no I don’t include his time “volunteer prosecuting” when he was actually out campaigning.
      The fact that someone continues to support jason and ignore the facts..is all the evidence I need to determine his or her intelligence

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Fitzgerald and Russell where privates or Corporal at best. They had no management or leadership experience and would have been lost in the AG office.

        I could see Fitzgerald trying to run every court case and a lot of things piling up at the AG’s office.

        Russell wouldn’t be able to make a decision and just call Stace for his opinion.

        Reply
  36. Anonymous

    Tina: you are so right. They don’t let janitors do surgery. They don’t let nurses operate. Guess he didn’t know SB 70 assures probation. Just like HE assures a demo for AG. Nice work folks. Seiler will come knocking and it won’t be fun.

    Reply
    1. PlanningStudent

      To your analogy: I don’t know of too many hospital administrators that are doctors…

      SB 70 has increased the the County Jail population, that seems to be the point JR is making, maybe that has something to do with so many Sheriff’s backing him.

      Reply
    2. Lincoln County Delegate

      Hmmm…

      We elected a Shantel Krebs SOS with little experience in what that office does, yet she has done a phenomenal job cleaning up that office.

      We elected Donald Trump President with no experience in government, yet he has done a phenomenal job.

      What do these two have in common? They have management and leadership skills and they know how to identify and hire the right people for the right job.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Truthfully we nominated a lot of inexperienced candidates at convention. I bet they all do just fine.

        Reply
  37. Troy Jones

    Concerned Republican,

    I know you think I have half a brain but I get your point. And, I think it total nonsense. It appears you have little understanding of what really happens in the AG’s Office. The Attorney General Office prosecution efforts/manpower is small compared to all other areas of the office and it is way down on its primary activity. An Army General “hires” the Army Corp. of Engineers to build his bridges and other infrastructure. He doesn’t have to be an engineer to lead them. Same with AG, he can hire his prosecutors.

    BTW, I’m not defending Jason personally. I’ve never met him or either of the other two candidates. However, he spoke during his campaign as if he understood the office was significantly more than a prosecutor (vs. his opponents), he dominated endorsements both from Sheriff’s and his opponents colleagues, and, most importantly, he got almost 2/3 of the vote from those sent to discern who would be the best AG nominee. I have no idea who you are but your lack of grasping my argument (vs. just saying you disagree with it and want a prosecutor as AG) is far from convincing. But, again, what do I know. I only have half a brain.

    Reply
    1. Steve Sibson

      He not only hasn’t prosecuted a case, unlike LR, he has never won an election. That has to happen before he can administrate the Establishment’s AG agenda.

      Reply
      1. Steve

        You guys crack me up…you are against career politicians and against new people also…..

        Seems like Jason won a convention election on Saturday and in convincing fashion

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Good point “you are against career politicians and against new people also….” It just means they want who they want only. No one else is good enough. Because 20% (likely less) are smarter than the other 80% of us.

          Reply
    2. Concerned Republican

      You’re right our past AGs have lacked experience too. Oh wait, Jackley was SD’s US Attorney before taking the office of AG. The agrument that experience prosecuting cases is irrelevant is absurd and isnt going to hold water. I hope you understand that Jason has spent the last several years on the campaign trail while other canidates were busy working for the people. (Hence his early delegate and sheriff support). Not everyone can be a full time politician. Other canidates were actually prosecuting the toughest cases while jason was out attending state fairs and telling lies about prosecuting the toughest case. And “Volunteering”as a deputy State’s Attorney was simply to add something to his resume regarding work as a prosecutor. I’ll give him credit for at least knowing he needed that much and I give him props for playing the game of politics very well. You may also want to dig into his past history of total incompetence as an attorney. The scott miller case for starters. The dems are going to have a field day with all his baggage. I just pray someone else jumps in the race!! Honestly, I don’t think you have half a brain, I think you were fed a bill of goods and rather than admit now that your canidate is flawed, you are going to dig in and refuse to admit the weaknesses in your position.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Baggage, are you kidding concerned republican. He has none, there is no Miller case issue. Show me the proof instead of more lies. Or is this Mary again trying to spread lies. Should we talk about the baggage Fitz and Russell would have brought?

        Russell: Censured and fired
        Fitzgerald: 25% conviction rate. Questionable ethical activities towards getting the bar exam rules changed so his Daughter could pass.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Laughable. And you want talk about lies. Show me proof of these made up conviction rates and last time I checked, the Supreme Court changed the bar exam rules. I guess they were in on the conspiracy to help johns daughter pass the bar. Just goes to show Fitz is bulletproof, no baggage.

          Reply
      2. Anonymous

        You sir are an idiot. I know him personally and he works all the time to get everything done.

        He is routinely there at midnight when I go by and on the weekends….

        He doesn’t have a career govt 40 hour a week job

        Reply
  38. Dusty Bennett

    On a positive note at least Stace Nelson isn’t a racist his “brown wife,” proves it 🙄 how any Republican can stand in front of a convention full of fellow Republicans and declare something as insane as that is beyond me. He should have been boo’d off the stage.

    And why does this article refer to Stace Nelson and his band of thugs as “ultra conservative?” Do people know the his voting record? He’s a democrat.

    As for Fitz, I had gotten my fill of Jason earlier in the campaign but after the notes under the door and the sham debate I decided to vote for Jason. Glad he won.

    Reply
    1. Steve Sibson

      No, Stace Nelson did not vote with the Democrats so that we can now pay 4.5% in State Sales Tax.

      Reply
  39. Troy Jones

    Concerned,

    I think I need to speak in shorter sentences. You seem to be unable to grasp my position as you keep asserting absurdities.

    1) I know none of the candidates. I had nothing invested in the outcome except a desire for the selection of who would be the best AG. I was sold nothing. I wasn’t a delegate. I have nothing to defend.

    2) I know all the different facets of the AG’s office from my six years in state government and at that time having a plethora of friends and contacts with the AG’s office. I have a pretty good grasp of what happens in the office. Compared to being a good manager of diverse activities and having similar priorities as mine regarding certain Constitutional and policy positions, being a good prosecutor is the least of MY priorities. You are welcome to hold whatever are your priorities.

    3) I trust the collective judgment of the Sheriffs and States Attorneys which was overwhelming in support of JR. The assertion these capable people in law enforcement were duped by some unqualified boob says more about you than it does about JR or our Sheriffs and State’s Attorneys.

    4) I have no idea who you are but question your judgment as you posted this five years ago: “Lets not forget that Mike Rounds is a severely damaged candidate, and would be extremely vulnerable against Weiland. In my opinion Stace would be the best Republican to nominate if we want to pick up the seat.” Rounds beat Weiland by 20% and got a majority of the votes in a four person race that included two former Republicans.

    5) I trust the collective judgment of the Republicans who went to Pierre to select who they believed was the best candidate. Winning 63% of the vote makes it clear a strong majority of the delegates disagree with you.

    Reply
    1. Concerned Republican

      Support from a mere 10% of our states attorneys is hardly overwheming. And just so you know i have never posted before today. As a first time delegate at the convention who heard other delegates admitting jason was not the most qualified for the job but they would rather vote for him because the other two tried to trap him in an unfair debate was crazy to me. As a new delegate and young republican I was very disappointed this is how we choose our officers. Suggesting a debate early in the day was hardly a trap. The other two canidates understood the details would have to be worked out, fair and approved by leadership but jason refused to even engage in the conversation. He literally ran. He could have said I’ll do it if can be fair and organized properly and maybe that woudnt have been possible but don’t run from the conversation. Thats not what someone with all the qualifications to be AG would have done. I attended a Lincoln day dinner and heard jason talk about his record as a prosecutor and it was misleading at best. The flyers in the night were put out by the Russell people. I saw with my own eyes. But I don’t think those were even bad. They simply stated the concerns of a political PAC (and they were valid concerns). That is politics. Either JR was the best canidate for the job or the poltical tactics used were unfair and justified a change in support. Which one is it?

      Reply
      1. William Beal

        Still spinning? “Hardly a trap”

        Trying to schedule and announce a debate in the afternoon, after the day’s business had been conducted and delegates were disbursed, with no conference rooms booked (the only room large enough was being setup for the banquet), no contact with any party officials beforehand, distributing political flyers on banquet tables (when the rules were known to the candidates the banquet was to have NO political literature distributed at the dinner).

        Well, if it wasn’t a trap, it was certainly one of the most boneheaded, ill-advised schemes I’ve seen in quite some time.

        Reply
      2. Anonymous

        I doubt Ravnsborg ran as he is not know to run from anything, I doubt someone who runs from fights would be a Lieutenant colonel in the military and trusted to be a Battalion commander. The debate was a trap clear and simple.

        Why didn’t Fitz and Russell still have the debate if they so much wanted to? Because they had no reason as it was a trap to try and bash on Ravnsborg.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          And as I watched the deadwood forum Ravnsborg kicked their behinds …he had the votes..no need to do it again …. and also piss off the new governor to be cuz it was about her night in Frank Farrar wake up they were being selfish they were behind the vote showed that the first vote even if a few people switched from fits Jason is still 15 20 points ahead

          Remember fitz… please tell us the policy differences between you and your opponents judicial activism…wtf! Fitz didn’t have any policy ideas…. great debate moment… in the fitzgeralds were so unsophisticated in politics they actually promoted that video

          Reply
      3. Anon

        I am also a young republican and it was also my first convention as a delegate. I voted for Jason and have been planning on it for a long time. I am also a deputy states attorney. Fitzgerald has been a prosecutor for a long time. However, his conviction rate at trial is horrendously bad. I call seasoned attorneys for advice all the time. Some of the best I got was something along the lines of “just because they’ve been doing it like this for a long time doesn’t mean they’ve been doing it the right way.” Fitzgerald’s “experience” is exactly why I didn’t vote for him. I would much rather have a younger attorney with less prosecutorial experience who can think outside the box than someone who is set in their ways and has been doing it wrong for years. I have absolutely nothing personal against Fitzgerald. I have worked with him in the past and know he is a great man who would go out of his way to help others. I have never met Russel but I have only heard positive remarks regarding him as a person. What pushed me away from him is his past issues with being censored and questionable legal ethics. He also aligned himself with the wrong people. Which means a lot to me. Jason went out of his way to meet me and went through what I believe are some great ideas to move the AG’s office, and criminal law in SD, forward. By no means am I trying to say you are wrong for your opinions. I just hope you can see why many delegates made the decisions they did. We need young republicans to push our party into the future. Don’t let one experience that didn’t go your way ruin that. At the end of the day, the convention is over. The delegates spoke, and now it’s time to put the past behind us, and unite behind Jason. There is no doubt he has a fight ahead of him, as any three of the candidates would have had.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          His trial record is around 80% Yankton County deputy. The difficult cases are tried. The slam dunk cases plead. Omg someone inject some brain cells in these people. I can’t stand the stupidity.

          Reply
  40. Anonymous

    I know running for AG isn’t for everyone but why didn’t other states attorneys run? Is it a common occurrence to have so little interest from qualified states attorneys?

    Reply
    1. glass houses

      Campaigning is hard…you have to 1) raise money….Fits couldn’t do that 2) have a vision–Fitz did not have one—-tell me what it was??? His platform was non-existent….he ran a bio campaign only 3) he had no support among law enforcement— he didn’t get any sheriff but his home county….if he is such an experienced prosecutor you would think some would have supported him 4) his surrogates were angry! He did not connect with people at all…same convention speech he gave at our Lincoln day dinner…nothing original ever

      Before the Fitzgerald continue to harass and harangue the guy that beat them if he’s so unqualified how did he beat them so bad cuz he took care of all these other categories also and they made it sound like oh he’s never done anything in the courtroom ever which is total BS it’s not all about Prosecuting folks the tax case that was just litigator was not a criminal case.

      I think the fitzgeralds need to step back and reassess what they did in their own campaign versus just attacking Jason which the majority of the delegates said was qualified and they did want to be there next Attorney General

      Before one more Fitzgerald supporter attacks Jason I’d like them to answer for Fitzgerald’s own fault and errors made in the campaign.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I want to hear to about Fitzgerald’s low conviction rate of 25%. Not once have I heard them defend it. Something tells me there is a lot of true in it, which speaks volume about Fitzgerald’s ability as a lawyer.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Ravnsborg beat the Pierre guy (Charlie) the States attorneys guy (Fitzgerald) and the Stace guy (Lance)

      Quite remarkable if you think about it.

      Reply
  41. Cliff Hadley

    Jason Ravnsborg is the Republican AG nominee because he patiently earned the trust of a wide group of party members, from sheriffs and lawmakers to farmers and ranchers to businesspeople like me. That trust resulted in donations and delegates. Other candidates fell short on the trust factor. Jason will be a fine AG.

    Reply
    1. Cliff Hadley

      Everything’s a conspiracy in some circles. What a terrible outlook on our party and life in general.

      Reply
  42. John M. Fitzgerald

    I will take this one. My dad is not a politician. He is an amazing trial attorney. Don’t tell me he is a career politician. Most attorneys don’t want to be state’s attorneys. It’s a truly thankless job. Anon’ s post is proof he doesn’t know much. 29 state’s attorney didn’t line up behind him because he is not good at what he does or does it wrong. That’s just foolish. He is legendarily good and I’d like to see this phony 48% or 25% conviction rate backed up by facts.
    Go to Google scholar and check it out. Select South Dakota cases and type Fitzgerald. Look up the rocket lube case. Trent was acquitted at the first trial because he took the stand and lied. The AGs office wouldn’t take the appeal so my dad did it himself. The supreme court reversed Judge Macy and my dad retried the case. Trent was convicted and sent to prison. This was all over Trent charging for work on a classic Studebaker that he didn’t do. A type of case that most state’s attorneys or reasonable people would say wasn’t worth the resources. The AGs office said it wasn’t worth the time. But you know my dad takes the opinion that right is right and wrong is wrong. Look at the Chester case. Chester was murdered viciously over several hours. When the supreme court reversed one of his murders’ death sentences and said a jury would have to find unanimously he should be sentenced to death. My dad say well okay let’s do this. I can’t imagine another states attorney in the whole country who would not have plea bargained for life without parole except for Rep. Gowdy. They spent more than a month resentencing him. The jury came back unanimously for death. Right is right and wrong is wrong he believes regardless of time, energy or money.
    I listened intently to Jason’s ideas in his speech at the convention. I remember the meth prison and the database for cold case files. The meth prison is a great idea. Ill write a check for it tomorrow, right after I write a check for a state prison for for the mentally ill. (We don’t have one of those either $$) CODIS is in fact a database for cold case files and it has been in full force for decades. How Jason doesnt know this blows my mind. I won’t say for how many decades CODIS has been in effect until I watch the youtube of my dad on A&Es cold case files talking about a cold case he prosecuted using CODIS.
    He’s not a politician. He doesn’t have a bunch of ideas which already exist to sell you on or an idea which will never exist. He’s just an amazing prosecutor and a tireless advocate for that 5% who are victims who I guess don’t matter. That stance is the same stance their perpretrators take. It’s too bad SD Republicans dont want him because he wasn’t willing to BS you or because of “blueflyer gate.”

    Now don’t forget this is his son and not the candidate.
    Don’t remove my comment Pat. I truly enjoy your blog.

    Reply
    1. Pat Powers Post author

      John, if you want to impress people with your father’s legacy, you might just say “congratulations,” and that you’ll do whatever you can to support the nominee.

      All the candidates played the game. Only one could win.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Sorry. Not Buying it. I think there is a lot more to Fitzgerald low convictions rate of 25% or 48%. I would love to see a try tally and see what it is. I would imagine with over 250 case that many of them should never had made it to trial.

      Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Why Russell and Tapio chose to surround themselves with Shad Olson, Lautenschlagger and Mason is mindboggling. They probably didn’t learn any lessons.

      Reply
  43. Anonymous

    John Jr and all other Fitzgerald supporters:

    You claim John the candidate is not a politician– let me give you some political advice.

    Jason won you did not. The convention is over.

    You need to get behind the nominee and stop all this bitterness.

    You keep making the same arguments that you made before the convention, but the delegates voted.

    Your actions here are tarnishing your father’s good works and reputation. 16 years ago he lost and quit the states attorneys association and acted like a sore loser. Don’t let him go out this way at the end of his career also. Take the high road be gracious. Plus he not you could have to work with Jason.

    All of you need to calm down take a step back and support Jason. Make him better and honor your father with helping support the winning team.

    Reply
  44. Anonymous

    Hi Stace, still trying to peddle this lie? Show me the proof Ravnsborg was promised anything and by whom? Who has the power to promise that, no one accept the delegates. So I guess all the delegates that voted for Ravnsborg where paid off Stacie?

    Reply
  45. Anonymous

    Best advice. Race is over. Support the nominee. Move on to victory in November. This is a team sport.

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    Teupel was a disaster as campaign manager. No campaign should ever use him. He has been bullying delegates for years. Huge mistake.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      What are you implying?

      That he is working with his old law school classmate?

      How is that on topic?

      Reply
  47. Pat Powers Post author

    Just a note – Talk about the convention races is on topic. Bashing for the sake of bashing is not, and you can save that for your own social media.

    Reply
  48. Anonymous

    Fitz had the best speech by far at the convention it’s a shame you allow this blog to continue to write inappropriate comments about his family. I would go as far to say it’s one of the best speeches ever heard at a convention.

    Reply
    1. Pat Powers Post author

      Did you not read the comment above your own?

      Talk about the convention races is on topic.

      Bashing for the sake of bashing is not, and you can save that for your own social media. Meaning no matter who does it will likely find their comment gone, as being off topic.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Hi Mary. Your trying the bully route again. Let me guess, “everyone must agree with John and just think he is the best person ever”.

      Mary,
      It is time to stop posting. You lost, for it up.

      Reply
  49. Anne Beal

    I’m still laughing at the comment that “you wouldn’t want a medical student performing your surgery.”

    Bwahahaha.

    You don’t know what goes on in teaching hospitals, do you?

    There’s an axiom about medical procedures: “See One, Do One, Teach One.”

    The first time a medical student goes into the OR he observes the surgery. The second time he goes in, he performs the surgery. And the third time he goes in, he teaches it to another med student.

    I hope this reassures you. For the next surgical procedure you schedule. Haha.

    Reply

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