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South Dakota Democrats plan leadership election in December

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party plans to elect a new party chair in December after two leaders resigned amid financial problems.

The party’s Executive Committee met in emergency session Saturday and created working groups to tackle its recent woes. The Argus Leader reported the party’s Central Committee will elect the new chair during its next meeting on Dec. 7.

Chairwoman Paula Hawks and Executive Director Stacey Burnette resigned last week after a Federal Elections Commission report revealed the party owes nearly $47,000 and has a negative balance of more than $8,000.

Acting chairman Randy Seiler characterized the party’s direction as positive and committed to cleaning up its debts. He told the Argus Leader he is not interested in holding the chair permanently.

An FEC audit earlier this year for the years 2015 and 2016 also found several problems with party finances, including failing to disclose debts and vendor obligations. The state party has closed its offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City with its staff working remotely.

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Jerek Dufner

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