S.D. Dems rehire director whose resignation led to ouster of former chairwoman
Ahlers resumes party role with backing of new leadership
The South Dakota Democratic Party has rehired its former executive director whose abrupt resignation earlier this year led to the ouster of the party’s top official.
Dan Ahlers has resumed his position as SDDP’s executive director following his departure from the job in late July, when he raised alarms about the party’s chairwoman mismanaging the organization.
The resignation of Ahlers, a former Dell Rapids lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate who was leading the Democrats' day-to-day operations at the time, sparked the recall of now-former Chairwoman Jennifer Slaight-Hansen in August. Last month, SDDP’s state central committee selected Shane Merrill of Parker to fill the position.
The party’s executive committee last week voted unanimously to rehire Ahlers, who came at Merrill’s recommendation following a nationwide search for potential applicants.
“We are happy to have Dan officially back on board,” Merrill told The Dakota Scout. “Dan and I have a shared vision for our state Democratic Party of reaching out to Democrats, independents and moderates to build a stronger party.”
Ahlers, 49, has served in both the South Dakota state Senate and House of Representatives as a District 25 lawmaker, ending his most recent stint at the state Capitol in 2018. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds in the 2020 general election.
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