County commission field crowded

Jason Ferguson

Custer County voters will have no lack of choices for Custer County Commission when the June 7 Primary Election arrives.
There are eight candidates for three positions available for four year terms on the commission, including three incumbents—current commission chairman Jim Lintz, Craig Hindle and Mike Linde—all of whom are Republicans.
Joining them in the field of candidates will be a bevy of fellow Republicans, including Jesse Sorenson, a former commissioner who was defeated in the previous election.
Nicholaus Benton, of Custer, has thrown his hat into the ring, as has Jeff Johnson, also of Custer, and Uly Johnson of Fairburn. Kevin Rosse, an independent from the southeast part of the county near Edgemont, is expected to file as an Independent in the race for the November General Election.
There are two candidates for a two-year term on the commission, one of which is current commissioner Travis Bies. He will be challenged by Mike Busskohl of Custer.
This year’s race for sheriff will look the same as it did four years ago, with current sheriff Marty Mechaley challenged by one of the same candidates as four years ago. Doug Kimball, of Hermosa, who like Mechaley is a Republican, has filed a petition to seek the sheriff’s post. Independent candidates have until April 26 to file a petition for the General Election.
Other county seats that are up for election will be unopposed, as Republican Dawn McLaughlin is the only person to seek the county’s new finance officer seat, which is a four year term. McLaughlin is already serving in that capacity. Likewise, Teri Morgan, the current register of deeds, will receive another four-year term after running unopposed.
On the school board front, three candidates have filed positions for two available seats on the Custer School District Board of Education. Incumbents Heather Grace and Michelle Lehman will both seek reelection to a three-year term, and will be joined in the race by Holly Johnson of Custer.
At the Elk Mountain School District, two positions will not have a race, as Travis Paulton and Mary Boots were the only two people to file for a three-year term. That will leave one position open, which will have to be appointed by the board.
There was one candidate for the one position for a two-year term, that being current board president Joann Boggs.
There will be a race for a one-year term on the board, as two candidates filed for one position. Kent Keidel will face Jason Bradeen in that race.
There will be no election in the City of Custer, as the three incumbents who are up for election—Dixie Whittaker in Ward I, Julie Jenniges in Ward II and Todd Pechota in Ward III—are all unopposed.
The Town of Hermosa will have an election this year, as three candidates will vie for two seats on the town board.
Current board member Bob King seeks reelection to a three-year term, and will be joined in the race by former town board member Linda Kramer and Bobbi Klaski. Current board member Berni Flug will not seek reelection.
The Town of Buffalo Gap had one seat coming open, that belonging to Terry Kizer, for a three-year term. Kizer was the only person to file a petition for the seat. The same is true in Fairburn, where incumbent Melissa Kremer will retain her seat and serve another three-year term.
On the state level, District 30 Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller will face a challenge from her long-time legislative colleague Tim Goodwin. The two Republicans will face off for a two-year term.
There are five candidates for two seats as a District 30 representative, which includes Trish Ladner. She will be joined on the ballot by fellow Republicans Patrick Baumann and Gerold Herrick of Custer, Dennis Krull of Hill City and Lisa Gennaro of Keystone. The top two vote-getters will square off with Democrat Bret Swanson of Hermosa in the General Election.
Gov. Kristi Noem will face state legislator Steve Haugaard of Sioux Falls in the Republican primary for a four-year term as the state’s governor, with the winner taking on Democrat Jamie Smith of Sioux Falls in the General Election.
At the national level there will be a primary for South Dakota’s lone seat as a U.S. Representative, as incumbent Dusty Johnson will face a challenge from state legislator Taffy Howard of Rapid City.
There will also be a primary for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by John Thune. Thune, a Republican, will seek reelection and will face Republicans Bruce Whalen of Pine Ridge and Mark Mowry of Spearfish. The winner of that race will face Democrat Brian Bengs of Aberdeen this fall.

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