Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a response from Deffenbaugh.

Simplified: Sioux Falls' City Council lineup is complete. Former state lawmaker and banker Richard Thomason will represent the city in the At-Large seat, rounding out four new members joining the eight-member council this year.

Why it matters

  • Thomason earned a little over 52% of the vote on Tuesday, edging out opposing candidate Jordan Deffenbaugh by a margin of about 700 votes, all told.
  • In just the few weeks between the initial election on April 9 and the runoff, Thomason spent more than $30,000 on his campaign. That's more than Deffenbaugh spent throughout the entire campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed by both candidates.
  • Turnout was slightly higher for the runoff election than for the April 9 election with about 240 more ballots cast. That's still considerably low for a City Council election with just shy of 8% of registered voters participating – a rate Mayor Paul TenHaken criticized during his State of the City address a few weeks ago.
"We’re extremely delighted that basically the same percentage came out," Thomason told Sioux Falls Simplified Tuesday night. "You would’ve thought that it would’ve gone the other way. Obviously Jordan and I both had campaigns that really resonated with people, and we had a pretty narrow gap between the two of us."

Deffenbaugh said he hopes the campaign leads to more conversation between councilors and the community, and he hinted that his work is not yet done.

"This is just the beginning," Deffenbaugh said. "We have a playbook now. We have a way to engage people. We know how we can play this game, and I wouldn't be surprised if in two years we get a good collection of folks running for every seat – maybe even a mayoral candidate."

Why did we need a runoff?

The runoff election Tuesday was needed because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote – something required by city ordinance – in the three-way race for the At-Large seat during the April 9 election.

  • The top two candidates, Deffenbaugh and Thomason, had a few more weeks of campaigning before the runoff.
  • The third candidate, Allison Renville, didn't make the runoff, and ultimately endorsed Thomason.

What happens next?

Thomason joins three other new City Council members:

  • Ryan Spellerberg, representing the southwest district,
  • Jennifer Sigette, representing the northwest district,
  • and Miranda Basye, representing the northeast district.

The four new folks will make up half of the eight-member City Council, and they're expected to be sworn in at the end of the month.