Reactions to the impeachment trial of former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg

PIERRE, S.D.(WNAX, KOTA, & KCCR)- Following the Impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg Tuesday, Senators took a few minutes at the end of the daylong session to reflect.

Senate Majority Leader, Gary Cammack of Union Center, said it was a well mannered session.

Senate President-pro-tem Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown said it was an emotional day.

Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, who presided over the session, said he appreciated the help he got.

Former Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels had been appointed as parliamentarian to help with the proceedings.

Here’re other reactions to the verdict from other senators.

Senator Jean Hunhoff of Yankton who voted to convict on both articles says it was due to a series of bad decisions by Ravnsborg. 

Hunhoff says Ravnsborg didn’t help himself by not answering questions. 

Hunhoff says it was a tough vote. 

Senator Helene Duhamel of Rapid City who voted to convict on both articles said it was Ravnsborg’s interactions with enforcement and compelling testimony from Mark Vargo that secured her vote.

Duhamel, who serves as public information officer for the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, said she believes this was the desired outcome of many law enforcement officials.

Duhamel describes the trial as a “sad day” for state history.

District 24 is the legislative district where former South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever of Highmore in September of 2020.  Boever, living in the Hyde County seat, was a constituent of Senator Mary Duvall who sat as a juror during a trial.  Duvall has stayed silent in the Impeachment process against Ravnsborg, knowing she may have been a juror in the Senate.

Duvall thought the case brought by Ravnsborg’s team was weak.

Duvall says the atmosphere in the Capitol was somber as the Senate took up something that had never been done before.

Duvall says while it was both challenging and interesting she hopes the South Dakota Senate never has to hold a trial of impeachment again.

District 20 Senator Josh Klumb says he was happy with how the trial went.

Klumb was one of nine senators to vote no on the first count of impeachment. 

Only two senators voted no on the second count of impeachment.  Klumb voted yes on count two, saying he believed the attorney general was dishonest.

The Senate voted 24-9 on the first article of impeachment, crimes causing a death, and 31-2 on the second article, malfeasance in office.

The Senate then voted to disqualify Ravnsborg from holding any future state office.