Reagan rolls dice to win Edgemont Mayor race

By Brett Nachtigall


EDGEMONT – The City of Edgemont will see a new mayor take the oath of office at the next city council meeting on May 2, after challenger Rheta Reagan broke the tie vote she had with incumbent Carla Schepler by defeating her with a roll of the dice following a recount of the original ballots, on Thursday night, April 20.

The three-candidate Edgemont Municipal Election was held on Tuesday, April 11, which resulted in a tie vote of the top-two vote-getters, with Reagan and Schepler each receiving 103 votes and the third candidate, Carl Shaw, receiving 70 votes.

Due to the tie vote, both candidates submitted a written request for a recount, which was ultimately held April 20, and attended by between 30 and 35 members of the community. The three-member Recount Board was comprised of Mary Hollenbeck who served as the Superintendent along with Ward 3 Alderman Dennis Tubb (representing Schepler) and community member Lisa Pawloski (representing Reagan). 

City Finance Officer Karen Cain reported the recount process at city hall took between 1 ½ to 2 hours to complete and resulted in the exact same vote count as the original, with all three candidates receiving the same 103 / 103 / 70 totals. Cain said there was one unopened Absentee Ballot received which could have broken the tie, but everyone on the Recount Board agreed to not open the sealed ballot because the signature on the ballot envelope did not match the signature that was used on the application to secure the Absentee Ballot.

With the vote then still deadlocked, South Dakota Codified Law calls for the drawing of lots to determine the winner in a tie mayoral race, if the municipality does not have an ordinance in place to force a runoff that requires a candidate to receive the majority of the vote when there are more than two candidates. In South Dakota, cities with more than 25,000 population are required to have a runoff when such a case occurs. Since Edgemont has a small population and does not have such an ordinance, the drawing of lots was used to determine the winner.

The means in which the lots were drawn was determined by Cain, who had Reagan and Schepler each roll a pair of dice. Schepler rolled a total of 4 and Reagan rolled a total of 5, and thus narrowly won the contest and will be the new mayor.

According to the information Reagan provided the newspaper for her candidate profile, which was published on March 30, she has lived in Edgemont since June 2008, after her husband transferred from Lincoln, Neb., with the BNSF Railroad. Prior to living in Nebraska, Reagan grew up in Florida and was employed for 20 years as a Customer Service Representative for food distributors. 

Reagan had also previously worked nine years as the City Clerk for the City of Edgemont. Currently, she is a substitute teacher for the Edgemont School District.

Reagan was officially sworn into office on Tuesday, May 2. Also during that meeting, longtime City Finance Officer Karen Cain was not reappointed to the position, which she had held for the past 10 years. She was then replaced by new Finance Officer Nick Robinson.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
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