South Dakota Senate to decide if embattled AG Ravnsborg will finish term

Two-thirds of the Senate must agree to convict him

(The Center Square) - The South Dakota Senate will decide next week if Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg will serve the remainder of his four-year term, which will be his last.

Ravnsborg told Dakota News Now he would not seek a second term.

The House of Representatives impeached him in April for conduct related to a 2020 car wreck that killed a 55-year-old man despite a committee vote that recommended against the impeachment. He is the first state official impeached in South Dakota history.

The attorney general said he did not know what he hit and left the scene of the wreck in Hyde County in September 2020. Joseph Boever's body was discovered when Ravnsborg returned to the scene the next day. He pleaded no contest to two traffic offenses and paid a fine.

Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo and Clay County State's Attorney Alexis Tracy will handle the prosecution, according to an email to The Center Square from Senate President Pro Tem Lee Schoenbeck previously reported. The Senate will meet at 8 a.m. on June 21.

Two-thirds of the Senate must agree to convict Ravnsborg. A conviction removes him from office.

Ravnsborg is suspended from office until the trial. Charles McGuigan, the attorney general's chief deputy, has led the office.

The South Dakota Republican Party will consider former attorney general Marty Jackley and David Natvig, who serves as director of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation as their nominee for the Nov. 8 general election, according to an email from party chairman Dan Lederman.

Jackley is endorsed by Gov. Kristi Noem. He served as attorney general from 2009 to 2019. Jackley stepped down to run for the Republican nomination for governor but lost to Kristi Noem.

South Dakota Republicans will begin their convention on Thursday, June 25, two days after Ravnsborg's trial begins. No one has emerged as a Democratic candidate for the post. Democrats also hold their convention next week.