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Woman advances in run for sheriff

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

LAKE ANDES -- An area woman appears to have taken a step forward in her bid to become South Dakota's only female sheriff.

DesaRae Gravatt was the unofficial winner Tuesday of the Charles Mix County Democratic sheriff's primary race. She received 324 votes, two more votes than her opponent, Gene Niehus. Assuming her slim margin holds up, Gravatt will face current Sheriff Randy Thaler in the general election in November.

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"It was a very, very close race," Gravatt said. "If the results are what they are, I'm very happy and I appreciate everyone who voted for me."

If Gravatt wins the general election, she will be the only female sheriff in South Dakota.

"It would be an honor to be the only female sheriff in the state," she said. "It's very exciting."

The Charles Mix County Auditor's Office said the votes will be canvassed Thursday. If someone petitions for a recount of the ballots, that will be done three days after the votes are canvassed.

Hanson County library

Voters in Hanson County supported keeping a county-funded library system Tuesday.

Nearly 65 percent of voters, or 397 voters, told the county's commissioners to support a county library system with a yes vote at the polls, while 214 voters were against the proposal.

A yes vote on the ballot directed the commissioners to continue to support a county library, which may or may not include a bookmobile. The library itself is located in Spencer. A no vote would have allowed the county's commissioners to discontinue funding the library. McCook County is a partner in the library system but voted not to fund the project past the end of the year.

Angie Harberts, a board of director on the current Hanson-McCook Library System from Emery, said supporters were hopeful that voters would support the library.

"We have a lot of kids and elderly people who can't drive to the library and they use the bookmobile a lot," she said. "I would like to see the commissioners continue to support the bookmobile if possible."

Andes Central School

Incumbent Kristin Dvorak and newcomer Will Bennett will serve terms on the Andes Central School District starting July 1. Dvorak received 151 votes Tuesday and Bennett received 115 to win the two available seats. Incumbent Artie Lantz received 91 votes. The voters cast 206 ballots.

Bon Homme County

In the Republican county auditor primary, incumbent Tamara Brunken, of Springfield, defeated Jenn Knoll, of Springfield, 551-363. The Republican sheriff's primary went to current Sheriff Lenny Gramkow, of Avon. He defeated his opponent, Michael Hofeldt, of Viborg, 764-151.

Chamberlain mayor

Chad Mutziger is Chamberlain's new mayor, having garnered 56.94 percent of the votes Tuesday. He received 328 votes, beating out Tim Thomas, who had 119 votes; Greg Lien who had 55; and Larry Abernathy, who had 74.

Chamberlain School

Incumbent Jay Blum will return to Chamberlain's school board with 819 votes from Tuesday's race, and Annette Priebe will join the board with 617 votes. The losing candidates were Diane Inch, who received 96 votes, Lester Thompson Jr. with 222 votes, Ryan Van Genderen with 342 votes and Patrick Engels with 120 votes.

Gregory School

Robert Wik won the Gregory School Board spot, with 317 votes. Tammy Thomas, the other candidate, received 179 votes. Officials said there was a 35 percent voter turnout; 498 total votes were cast, with two "spoiled" votes, for a total of 496 out of 1,402 possible voters in the Gregory School District.

Hutchinson County

Leon Edlund, of Parkston, beat Glen Harnisch, also of Parkston, in the District 3 Hutchinson County Commission Republican primary. Edlund received 125 votes and Harnisch received 75.

Larry Mehlhaff, of Kaylor, won the District 5 Republican primary with 207 votes. Victor Olson, of Tripp, received 40 votes.

Officials said there was a 27.5 percent voter turnout; 1,289 total votes were cast with no spoiled votes. There are 4,683 registered voters in Hutchinson County.

Gregory County

Myron Johnson won the District 3 Gregory County Commission Republican primary Tuesday, receiving 73 votes. He beat incumbent Gordon Miner, who received 19 votes, and challenger Kyle Wilhelmsen, who received 17 votes.

Jeffrey G. Johnson won the District 5 Republican primary with 78 votes. Losing candidates Byron Grim received 44 votes, and Nick Reber received 24 votes.

Officials said there was a 33 percent voter turnout; 975 people cast ballots out of 2,950 eligible voters.

Lake Andes

Cindy Mengenhauser received 89 votes Tuesday to become Lake Andes' new mayor. Her opponent, Caroll Allen, received 63 votes. Mengenhauser will serve a two-year term.

Amanda Frandsen received 30 votes to become Lake Andes' new Ward 1 alderman, defeating incumbent Dennis Tronvold, who received 22 votes.

Lyman County

Incumbents Ryan Huffman, of Vivian, Steve Perry, of Presho, and Kim Halvorson, of Kennebec, will return to their seats on the Lyman County Commission. Huffman received 396 votes, Perry received 355 votes and Halvorson received 336 votes in the at-large race for three seats. Challenger Bill Lengkeek, of Presho, received 273 votes.

Tripp County

Barb DeSersa, of Winner, won the Republican nomination for Tripp County's auditor position with 864 votes Tuesday. She beat Kathy Klein, also of Winner, who received 228 votes.

Shawn Pettit, of Winner, won the Republican nomination for Tripp County's sheriff position with 760 votes. He beat out Todd Stiehl, also of Winner, who received 336 votes.

Officials reported 1,342 people voted out of 3,711 registered in Tripp County, for a turnout of 36 percent.

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