Election results were much slower coming out last night in the Northern Panhandle than they had been in the past few elections, but Dawes County Clerk Cheryl Feist and Sheridan County Clerk Sindy Coburn both say it was the result of big voter turnout.
76% of all registered voters in Dawes County cast ballots, by far the biggest turnout in recent years and the biggest Feist was able to find in a quick check of county election records.
The big turnout certainly wasn’t triggered by local races as there were just 2 contested races in Sioux County, one plus a local ballot measure in Sheridan, and four plus another local measure in Dawes County.
Republican Levi Grant will be the next Dawes County Commissioner from Dist 3. The businessman and former Chadron City Councilman easily defeated Democratic rancher Marisa Betson 910-563.
Incumbent Keith Crofutt won reelection to the Chadron City Council with Joe Johndreau taking the other open seat in a 3-way race that included A-J Bassett. Crofutt drew 1,196 votes, Johndreau 1,170, and Bassett 1,036.
Zac Riggs swamped former Mayor Dave Nixon 143-44 in the Crawford City Council North Ward race while Crawford residents voted 320-138 in favor of doing away with electing council members by ward and switch to citywide, at-large positions and voting.
JoElla Norman, Don Edelman, and Alicia Hunter-Robertson claimed the 3 spots on the Crawford School board in a 6-way race. Norman received 563 votes, Edelman 429, and Hunter-Robertson 335 – just 7 more than Christine Swanson.
There were 5 candidates for 3 seats on the Sioux County School Board. Jud Skavdahl took the top spot with 316, followed by Joleen Falkenburg with 290, and Shon Whetham at 278 while Chris Juhnke and Karen Huntrods missed with 230 and 212.
In the 3-way race for 2 seats on the Harrison Village Board, John Geiser got one with 107 votes and Mike Kesselring the other with 83. Shane Rudlofff got 52.
The only contested race in all of Sheridan County was for 3 positions on the Gordon-Rushville School Board, which drew a field of 6. Zack Kearns finished 1st with 1,144 votes, Ross Janssen was 2nd at 962 and Candie Johnson got the 3rd at 931.
Filling out the field were Nick Rosane with 805, Seth Tausan 635, and Krista Wegner 544.
There was one county-wide ballot measure in Sheridan County – whether to keep the County Surveyor an elected position or make it an appointed post. The choice was appointed 1,327-1,024.
43rd District State Senator Tom Brewer of Gordon won easily reelection to a second term 58-42% over Cherry County Commissioner Tanya Storer, although the margin was closer than in the May primary.