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DEADWOOD | Concerned about the threat of illegal drugs plaguing South Dakota communities, veteran Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald Friday announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for state attorney general.

“The spread of it, the cost of it, the toll it’s taken on our communities, threatens our social fabric and our way of life,” Fitzgerald said Friday morning. 

A graduate of Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota Law School, Fitzgerald was first appointed Lawrence County State’s Attorney in January 1995, after being elected Butte County State’s Attorney in 1980. He was elected as Lawrence County State’s Attorney in 1996, and has been re-elected every four years since, most recently in last November’s general election.

Fitzgerald said he had prosecuted thousands of cases and tried several hundred jury trials, including capital murder — experience he said would benefit state residents as South Dakota’s attorney general.

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“I just think with my age and experience, I can really give back something to the whole state, which is what I’ve learned being a lawyer and prosecuting attorney for as long as I have been,” Fitzgerald said. “I love this state and I want to do something on a larger scale, because South Dakota is a great place to live.”

Fitzgerald, 61, and his wife, Mary, live outside Spearfish and are the parents of three grown children and are grandparents to five.

Fitzgerald said he would face opposition for his party’s nomination during the November 2018 state Republican Party convention, whose delegates will select their nominee. Charles McGuigan, the current deputy state attorney general, and Yankton attorney Jason Ravnsborg already have announced their intention to seek the GOP nod for the post, he said.

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