District voters OK $32.4M bond

Courtesy photos

Reed claims District 7 Senate seat, other primary winners chosen in Tuesday races

BROOKINGS – Brookings School District voters approved a $32.4 million bond issue for school improvements by a more than 2-to-1 margin in Tuesday’s election. 

Voters also headed to the polls to decide District 7 and 8 legislative and Brookings County Commission Republican runoffs, as well as statewide Republican primaries for governor, U.S. senator and representative, and a ballot issue.

School bond

The Brookings School District bond election asked all the district’s registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, whether they approved of $32.4 million in school bonds, not to exceed 20 years after the date of issuance, to pay for a new Hillcrest Elementary School and a renovated and expanded Medary Elementary School.

Sixty-nine percent of voters said “yes,” with 3,322 ballots cast in favor, and 31%, or 1,462 voters, saying “no.”

The total cost for both projects will be approximately $43 million, which means the bond will not be the sole source of funding. The remaining $10 million will be paid for through capital outlay certificates, capital outlay cash, and other cash that the district has on hand.

The projected levy is 85 cents per thousand dollars in property tax valuation, which would be a universal levy for all property taxpayers (regardless of property size and type of property).

School bonds require a super-majority vote of 60% to pass.

District 7

Beginning with the 2023 legislative term, following the adoption of redrawn legislative districts in South Dakota this past fall, District 7 will include the cities of Brookings and Aurora, plus Brookings, Medary and Aurora townships.

In the Republican primary race for state senator from District 7, Tim Reed of Brookings claimed the seat with 1,446 votes (60%), beating challenger Julie Erickson of Brookings, who claimed 957 votes (40%).

There is no Democratic challenger in that contest, so Reed takes the post without a general election contest.

The Republican primary race for two state representatives from District 7 was won by Mellissa Heermann with 1,280 votes (31%) and Roger DeGroot with 1,245 votes (31%). Both are from Brookings. Falling short were challengers Doug Post of rural Volga with 1,184 votes (29%) and Matt Doyle of Brookings with 363 votes (9%).

Heermann and DeGroot next face Democratic challengers Mary Perpich and Lisa Johnsen, both of Brookings, in November.

District 8

Starting in 2023, the rest of Brookings County will be part of legislative District 8, which will also include Kingsbury, Lake and part of Miner counties. Rural Brookings County is currently part of legislative District 4.

In the Republican primary race for state senator from District 8, Casey Crabtree of Madison won with 3,124 votes (79%) over challenger Heather Devries’ 832 votes (21%).

Tim Reisch of Howard  (3,188 votes, 52%) and John Mills of rural Volga (1,878 votes, 31%) won the Republican primary race for two state representatives from District 8, beating Lecia Summerer of rural Wentworth (1,019 votes, 17%).

There are no Democratic challengers for either race in the general election, so the three winners claim the District 8 seats.

Brookings County Commission

Kelly VanderWal of Volga (2,276 votes, 41%), Shawn Hostler of Brookings (1,275 votes, 23%) and Gretchen Weible of Elkton (999 votes, 18%) were the top three vote-getters in the Republican primary for three posts on the Brookings County Commission. Coming in fourth was Anthony Teesdale of Brookings (983 votes, 18%).

The three primary winners will move on the general election to face independent candidates Larry Jensen of rural Aurora and Timothy Bauer of rural Elkton.

Statewide races

Amendment C, also a non-political race for all registered voters, is an amendment requiring three-fifths vote for approval of ballot measures imposing taxes or fees or obligating over $10 million.

Brookings County voters followed the statewide trend of rejecting that measure, with locals voting 4,222 (68%) against and 1,997 (32%) in favor.

Brookings County Republicans also gave Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. John Thune and Rep. Dusty Johnson the nod in their respective primary bids for re-election.

Locally, Noem claimed 2,579 votes (74%) over Steven Haugaard’s 906 votes (26%). She will face Democratic challenger Jamie Smith in the general election.

Thune claimed 2,569 votes (74%) in Brookings County, compared to Bruce Whalen’s 742 votes (21%) and Mark Mowry’s 179 votes (5%). Thune will face Democrat Brian Bengs in the November general election.

In the race for U.S. representative, Johnson claimed 2,274 votes (65%) in Brookings County, and Taffy Howard tallied 1,226 votes (35%) primary ballot. There is no Democratic challenger in that race, according to the South Dakota secretary of state’s website.

Voter turnout

Brookings County recorded a voter turnout of 32%. According to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website, 6,344 ballots were cast, and there are 19,776 active voters in the county.

Contact Jill Fier at [email protected].