The Brown County Commission is going to have at least one new face in 2025.
Seats currently held by Doug Fjeldheim of Westport and Duane Sutton of Aberdeen are up for election this year.
Fjeldheim, who has served since 2015, said he is not seeking re-election.
The term he finishes this year is the last half of Rachel Kippley’s four-year post that opened when she left the commission after being hired as fair and fairgrounds manager.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Fjeldheim said of his 10 years of service.
Serving as a commissioner brings obligations, and Fjeldheim said his wife has grown weary of the interruptions that come with being the spouse of an elected official. He said they’ll enjoy the flexibility to spend the winter in warmer climates. He’s not willing to make a commitment to the commission and be absent for several straight weeks.
Sutton has served since 2009 and plans to seek another four-year term.
While nominating petitions are just starting to trickle in, Brown County already has one for county commission. It was filed by Kyler Dinger, an Aberdeen Republican.
Other Brown County positions up for election in 2024 include state’s attorney, treasurer, coroner and the last two years of a term for county auditor.
Lynn Heupel was appointed auditor after Cathy McNickle resigned to take a job with the city. Because more than half of her term was left when she resigned, Heupel faces re-election this year and said she plans to run.
It will be the first election for both her and state’s attorney Karly Winter, who was also hired to finish Ernest Thompson’s term after he took a job with the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. Winter said she plans to seek re-election.
Patty Van Meter was first elected as treasurer in 2020, and plans to seek re-election. She was appointed as interim treasurer after long-time treasurer Sheila Enderson retired in late 2019. While this is her second term in office, it is the start of her 32nd year at the treasurer’s office.
The Brown County Sheriff’s Office has been handling coroner duties for the past year since Michael Carlsen resigned.
State law allows for the county to delegate those duties to the sheriff, and the Brown County Commission did just that during its Tuesday, Jan. 16 meeting. However, that can be changed if somebody decides to run for coroner.
All seats in South Dakota Legislature up for election
All South Dakota Senate and House seats are up for election. All are two-year terms. Each legislative district has two representatives and one senator.
Given the candidate announcements already made, it appears there will be a Republican Senate primary in District 3.
District 3 Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, is seeking re-election, but is term-limited out of the Senate, so plans to run for House. Incumbent Brandei Schaefbauer, a Republican from Aberdeen, has filed a petition for re-election to the House.
The other House incumbent, Carl Perry, an Aberdeen Republican, has filed his petition, this time hoping to make the jump to the District 3 Senate seat. But fellow Republican Katie Washnok has announced her intentions to seek the spot.
District 3 includes most of Aberdeen.
Other legislative districts that include portions of Brown County are 1 and 23.
The District 1 senator is Michael Rohl, an Aberdeen Republican, who has filed for re-election. The two incumbent representatives, both of whom are Republicans from Sisseton, are Tamara St. John and Joe Donnell.
To date, just one other petition has been filed for District 1. Republican Logan Manhart of Aberdeen is seeking a spot in the House. He was briefly a candidate in 2022 before his state residency qualifications were challenged.
In District 23, Sen. Bryan Breitling, R-Miller, does not plan to seek re-election, though Seneca Republican Steve Roseland has announced that he is running for Senate.
The District 23 incumbent House members are Republican Scott Moore of Ipswich and James D. Wangsness, a Republican from Miller.
Aberdeen city, school board petitions available in March
Though the Aberdeen city and school board elections are held with the June 4 primary, nominating petition circulation doesn’t begin until March. Up for election are:
- Mayor Travis Schaunaman, who has announced he is seeking another five-year term.
- A five-year term representing the Northwest District now held by Josh Rife.
- Two three-year terms on the school board now held by Mark Murphy and Brad Olson.
Dusty Johnson up for reelection in U.S. House
South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House is up for election this year. It’s now held by Republican Dusty Johnson, who is seeking a fourth two-year term.
He faces the prospect of competition from fellow Republicans, though, as Toby Doeden of Aberdeen, Justin McNeal of Rapid City and Patrick Schubert of Box Elder have announced their intentions to challenge him. If any or all of them gather enough nominating signatures, there will be a GOP primary in June.
Where can petitions be found?
The window to circulate petitions for party-affiliated offices started Jan. 1 and ends March 26. That’s for Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. Independent candidates can file petitions through April 30.
Nominating petitions for county and state offices can be found online on the Secretary of State’s website and at the county auditor’s office.
Petitions must be notarized before they can be circulated. Once the necessary signatures are gathered, state petitions should be filed with the secretary of state and county petitions with the local county auditor’s office.
School districts and cities set the dates for their elections, and the petition circulation process for those elections is different.
In Aberdeen, the city and school elections, if needed, are held jointly with the primary. Nominating petitions can be circulated from March 1 through March 26.
Other potential dates for South Dakota city and school elections are April 9 and June 18. The petition circulation timeframes for those dates are Jan. 26 through Feb. 23 and April 9 through May 10, respectively.
City and school board nominating positions are obtained and filed at the city finance and school district business or finance offices, respectively. In Aberdeen, the school district finance office is at the District Service Center, 1224 S. Third St.
All spots on Brown County Conservation District up for election
All five supervisor positions for the Brown County Conservation District are up for election. If needed, the vote will be in November.
Supervisors one, four and five are up for four-year terms, and supervisors two and three are up for two-year terms.
The district was established in the 2022 election following the voter-approved merger of the South Brown and Marshall-Brown conservation districts. Current supervisors, in numerical order, are Judy Skoglund, Allen Ryckman, Teresa Traxinger, Randy Wiedenbush and Scott Sperry.
Petitions are available at the Brown County Auditor’s office and can be filed there through July 1.