Close races are election theme

Jason Ferguson
A familiar face will return to Hill City Hall as former city alderwoman Tana Nichols has won the race to become the new mayor of Hill City. Nichols defeated Stefanie Doaty in a tight race, getting 130 votes to Doaty’s 123. It is unclear if there will be a recount, and all results are unofficial until votes are canvassed. If the result holds, Nichols will serve a two-year term.
There will be two new faces on the Hill City Council, as Justin Thiry edged Steve Jarvis in Ward I by a 74-72 vote. This race, however, will likely be subjected to a recount.
The race for a seat on Ward II of the council was not as close, as Dennis Siebert defeated John Johnson 60-35. The seats on the council are two-year terms.
In the race for two available seats on the Hill City School District Board of Education, Jacob Rapp garnered the most votes with 441, while Carmen Ronish was second with 343 votes. Finishing in third place was Karen Street with 235 votes.
It appears District 30 will have a new face as its senate representative when the 2025 legislative session begins, as the incumbent candidate appears to have lost during last night’s election.
As of press time, Republican challenger Amber Hulse held a 1,986 to 1,883 vote lead over incumbent Julie Frye-Mueller, which, if it holds, will send her to this fall’s general election, where she will face Democrat Bret Swanson. Forrest Foster, who was also in the race, garnered 523 votes as of press time. The winner of the November election will serve a two-year term.
As of 2 a.m. when the Prevailer went to press, 24 of 25 precincts had been counted. Results will not be official until they are formally canvassed.
In a very close District 30 House of Representatives race, Tim Goodwin and incumbent Trish Ladner appeared to advance to this fall’s general election by virtue of gathering 1,799 and 1,772 votes, respectively. The two just edged past Pat Baumann, who had 1,733 votes as of press time.  The other candidates were Matt Smith, Steve Saint and Matthew Monfore, who received 1,623, 393 and 335 votes, respectively. The two winners of the November election will serve a two-year term.
Other area elections included the race for two seats on the Pennington County Commission. In the race for a seat on the commission in Area 2, former Rapid City Council member Ron Weifenbach defeated incumbent Lloyd LaCroix  by a margin of 867-410. In Area 4 the race was much closer, as Jerry Wayne Derr eaked out a victory over Todd Trask by a vote county of 790-767. This vote may be subject to a recount as well. In third place was Eric Hansen with 503 votes.
The South Dakota Secretary of State website shows the statewide voter turnout for this election was around 17 percent. 

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