Democratic chair faces recall vote later this month

SOUTH DAKOTA(The Dakota Scout)- Democratic delegates with the state party’s Central Committee have collected enough signatures to trigger an emergency vote on whether or not to recall embattled party Chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen.

Leaders within the state party confirmed to The Dakota Scout Wednesday that enough signatures had been collected on recall petitions to trigger the meeting, which will take place on Aug. 19 in Fort Pierre.

The entire Democratic legislative delegation, a number of county party chairs, and several of Slaight-Hansen’s fellow Executive Board members had asked the chair to resign or face removal, a threat which Slaight-Hansen has not yet backed down from.

“I have been having conversations with my family and determining what the best next steps would be for the party and me personally,” Slaight-Hansen told The Dakota Scout last week in response to calls for her resignation. She did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Detractors allege that Slaight-Hansen violated the state party’s constitution, specifically hiring and firing staffers without first consulting with her executive team. Former Executive Director Dan Ahers resigned his post late last month after less than three months on the job, citing a toxic work environment caused by Slaight-Hansen.

Removal of Slaight-Hansen will require a two-thirds vote of the members present at the meeting later this month. According to an internal email obtained by The Dakota Scout, the party had nearly two-thirds of eligible members signed onto the recall petition.

Slaight-Hansen has served as the party chair since the death of former party Chair Randy Seiler in April. She is currently serving a four-year term.