Fifty-nine of South Dakota’s 66 state’s attorneys have endorsed Marty Jackley, the candidate gunning for South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s seat as the official faces criminal charges for allegedly killing a pedestrian with his vehicle.
Jason Glodt, Jackley’s campaign spokesperson, told TPM over the phone on Wednesday that the endorsements were a “vote of confidence” for Jackley, who served as South Dakota’s attorney general until he left office to join the private sector in 2019. Jackley launched his campaign on March 1.
The offices of three prosecutors who did not back the candidate are working on Ravnsborg’s criminal case: Merlin Vorhees and Emily Sovell of Hyde County, who is leading the case, plus Michael Moore of Beadle County.
However, Jackley received an endorsement from Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo, who assisted with Ravnsborg’s case and claimed to still be involved on January 27. Ravsnborg was officially charged for the fatal crash on February 18.
Glodt told TPM that Vargo’s endorsement was not a conflict of interest given that he “no longer has any authority” in the case.
The rest of the state’s attorneys who haven’t voiced their support for Jackley want to wait before making any endorsements, according to the campaign spokesman.
Ravnsborg has pleaded not guilty to three traffic-related misdemeanor charges after he fatally struck Joseph Boever one night in September. The attorney general did not report to the authorities that he had hit a person until the next day, claiming that he did not know what he’d struck until he found Boever’s body the morning after the collision.
However, videos of Ravnsborg’s interviews in the investigation showed detectives confronting the attorney general with their discovery that Boever’s glasses were found in his car, indicating that the man had hit the car windshield.
Ravnsborg, who has rejected calls to resign from his fellow Republicans and is facing a potential impeachment, has not said if he plans to run for reelection. His spokesperson did not respond to request for comment.
Glodt told TPM that the point of Jackley’s campaign wasn’t getting rid of the embattled attorney general.
“He’s not running against Jason Ravnsborg, he’s running for his old job,” the spokesman said.