In April 1956, a run-off election for a city commission seat in Newell turned out 75 percent of the town’s eligible voters. A total of 321 votes were cast in the election—14 more votes than in the previous record of 307 votes in 1953, in a similar run-off race.
The election was held to determine if incumbent city commissioner Russell Wilson or newcomer Donald Engelson would hold a seat on the city commission. Ultimately, Wilson received 185 votes to Engelson’s 133, thus securing him a five-year seat on the commission.
Wilson was an active member of the Newell community. Employed as the local manager for Black Hills Power and Light, Wilson also served as the city’s police and fire commissioner, as well as a member of the library board. Wilson also served as the treasurer for the First Lutheran Church. Although he was a stalwart of the community, Wilson would not complete his five-year term on the commission, as he succumbed to an extended illness just three years later in 1959.