Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken will lead Sioux Falls for another four years after taking just over 73 percent of the vote Tuesday night.
Why it matters:
- TenHaken continues the decades-long trend of incumbent mayors winning re-election. Since Sioux Falls switched to a strong mayor form of government in the mid-90s, an incumbent hasn’t lost.
- As mayor, TenHaken will continue to oversee about 1,300 city employees and a more than $650 million annual budget.
- Challenger Taneeza Islam earned about 25 percent of the vote, with David Zokaites earning the other 2 percent.
“I'm excited residents feel the city's on the right track," TenHaken said, adding that he's relieved the election is over.
How did the race play out?
TenHaken came out strong in the absentee ballot results — which accounted for about 14 percent of voters (or 4,300 people). His lead never let up.
- All told, about 19,000 people voted for TenHaken.
Another 5,900 voted for Islam, who said she always knew challenging an incumbent would be an "uphill battle."
"The campaign was about so much more than winning," Islam said, citing the diversity of her supporters. "I ran to engage people who have never engaged ... and they came out to support me."
Zokaites had just shy of 500 votes.
What happens next?
For TenHaken, it's business as usual. He's got another four years at the city's helm, and he's released his "2026 plan" outlining his goals during that time.
- He's also got three new faces on the City Council, which he said he's excited about, though there will be a learning curve as they all work together.
For Islam, she'll continue her work at South Dakota Voices for Peace.
- She also said she wants to keep the momentum of her campaign going, and she encouraged residents to find local candidates to get behind and support them in state-wide and national elections yet to come this year.