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Ex-police chief Allender tops 2-term incumbent Kooiker in Rapid City mayoral election

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RAPID CITY, South Dakota — A former police chief in Rapid City has defeated the boss with whom he regularly clashed to become the city's mayor.

Retired chief Steve Allender beat two-term incumbent Mayor Sam Kooiker in Tuesday's election, with unofficial results showing Allender getting 54 percent of the vote to Kooiker's 46 percent. Nearly 16,000 people voted. Allender takes office in July.

Allender, 53, was police chief when Kooiker, 41, became mayor in 2011, and Allender continued in that role until he retired last year. Kooiker publicly praised Allender during those three years on several occasions. But Allender was only about 10 months into retirement when, in March of this year, he announced his candidacy for mayor against his former boss. During the campaign, Allender revealed that the two had clashed regularly while Allender was chief.

During a campaign that included numerous debates, the two candidates disagreed on a broad range of issues and criticized one another's approaches to leadership, according to the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1FtW5Oh ).

"I'm proud of these voters of Rapid City to see through all the negative campaigning that took place and to study the issues and to make a good, sound decision," Allender said.

Kooiker pledged to help with a smooth transition of power.

"The people have spoken and I accept the results, and it's been a privilege to serve," he said.

PHOTO: Rapid City, S.D. Mayor Sam Kooiker waves at traffic Tuesday, June 2, 2015 along Main Street in Rapid City. Kooiker lost his bid for re-election Tuesday night to retired police chief Steve Allender.  (Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal via AP) TV OUT
Rapid City, S.D. Mayor Sam Kooiker waves at traffic Tuesday, June 2, 2015 along Main Street in Rapid City. Kooiker lost his bid for re-election Tuesday night to retired police chief Steve Allender. (Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal via AP) TV OUT

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PHOTO: Rapid City, S.D. Mayor Sam Kooiker waves at traffic Tuesday, June 2, 2015 along Main Street in Rapid City. Kooiker lost his bid for re-election Tuesday night to retired police chief Steve Allender.  (Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal via AP) TV OUT
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