|Voters in Barry and Lawrence counties will choose candidates for county office in contested races on Tuesday||in the Aug. 7 primary election. In both counties, the lack of an incumbent has opened a wide field for county commissioners.|
With no one filing for the post on the Democrat ticket, the winner in next Tuesday's voting will win the office. The candidates are hoping to succeed Frank Washburn, who is running for a 158th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Republican candidates Gary Schad, David Redshaw, Eddie Dummit, Tom Hutchens, Duane Kaiser and Machelle Vanderpool will be vying for Barry County northern commissioner.
Schad, of Purdy, is the owner and operator of Circle Dot Farms, a 340-acre cow-calf operation, and is an employee of Schallert Brothers Seed. Schad is an active member of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, the Monett chapter of the Knights of Columbus and Stones Prairie Men's Club. He is also the director for the girls' summer ball league in Purdy and coaches one of the boys' summer ball team.
David Redshaw served on the Purdy City Council as an alderman and mayor for 10 years. Over the last five years, he has served as a Purdy Fire Protection District Board member. Prior to joining the board, he was an active volunteer for the fire department. Redshaw has been a self-employed businessman in the Purdy area for 39 years. He has owned and operated Redshaw TV Service, 3DK Trucking and Redshaw Property. He has also coached teams in the Purdy Summer Youth program for 15 years and served as a board member for the program.
Machelle Vanderpool, of Purdy, has worked for Walmart for 18 years. She began as a sales associate and was promoted to department manager within her first four months with the company. She has served as assistant store manager at the Monett Walmart since 2004. Vanderpool is also vice president of M&R Investments and has served on numerous work-related committees.
Eddie Dummit ran for the Republican nomination for northern commissioner in 2004 and 2008, narrowly losing both times to Frank Washburn, who served two terms. Dummit raises cattle and horses on 500 acres in the McDowell area. He is retired from Delco Remy and the real estate business.
Tom Hutchens, a native of Wheaton, has served as a Kings Prairie Special Road District commissioner for more than 20 years. He has also held the county position of milk tester for the Dairy Herd Information Association for many years. As an agribusinessman, Hutchens grew turkeys for Hudson Foods and broilers for Tyson Foods for a total of 30 years. Currently, he and his wife, Carolyn, own Hutchens Realty LLC in Purdy.
Duane Kaiser has lived in the Stones Prairie community his entire life. He taught vocational agriculture in the Monett, Crane and East Newton school districts for over 30 years. He now teaches part-time for the Pierce City School District. Kaiser and his wife, Colleen, own and operate a small dairy farm southwest of Monett. He is a member of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, the Barry County Farm Bureau and the Barry County Extension Council.
Gary Davis, of Cassville, is running unopposed as the Republican candidate for southern commissioner. Incumbent Wayne Hendrix, a Democrat, has filed for a second term as southern commissioner. Voters will decide between the two in November.
The race for Barry County sheriff has attracted two Republican candidates. Mick Epperly, seeking his fifth term in office, is being challenged by David Bowman, of Cassville.
On the Democrat side, Randall Munday, of Cassville, is running unopposed and will face off against the Republican winner in November.
Incumbent Mick Epperly is a graduate of Missouri Law Enforcement Academy at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. He has 24 years of law enforcement experience and is currently serving his fourth term as county sheriff. Epperly has been a member of the Central Crossing Fire Department for 28 years. He is also a board member for the Missouri Southern Law Enforcement Training and the Child Advocacy Center in Monett and serves as the board chairman for the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force. He is also a member of the Missouri Training Board and the Missouri Sheriff's Association Zone 14 Board.
David Bowman, of Cassville, began working as a dispatcher for Sheriff Jimmy Hopkins in 1984. After earning a state law enforcement certification, he worked as a county deputy for 20 years. Bowman has held the positions of chief deputy and undersheriff for the Barry County Sheriff's Office. He also served as Exeter chief of police. He is currently employed at Precise Manufacturing in Cassville.
Other BarCo races
Incumbents Sherry Sears, county assessor, and Jim Fohn, county coroner, are the only candidates to file for their respective offices on either the Republican or Democratic tickets. Jack Goodman, former 29th District state senator, is also the only candidate running for a 39th Circuit judge position.
The county public administrator's post is another office that did not attract any Democrats. Pam Modlin and Stormy Holtzman will be competing for the Republican nomination. Whoever wins on Tuesday will be Barry County's next public administrator, replacing Barbara White, who is retiring from the office.
Modlin, of Wheaton, has worked as deputy clerk at the Barry County Circuit Court office for nine years. She was recently named chief deputy clerk. She also serves as the secretary/treasurer for two local road districts. Prior to working for the county court, Modlin was employed at the Missouri Veterans' Home in Mt. Vernon for eight years. She also served as Wheaton city and municipal court clerk for seven years and was employed by the Division of Family Services.
Holtzman, of Cassville, has worked in the real estate business for over 15 years. She owned and operated Seven Valleys Realty in Cassville for 11 years. She currently works for ReMax Flat Creek Realty in Cassville. Holtzman received the NRCC Business Woman of the Year Award in 2004. She has also received master service and leadership awards and completed the Missouri Association of Realtors Academy. She is also actively involved in the Cassville Rotary Club and currently serves as club secretary.
Three candidates are running for the Republican nomination for sheriff in Lawrence County. Incumbent Brad DeLay is seeking a second term. He is challenged by Rick Abney, a retired conservation agent and past bailiff for the sheriff's department, who ran four years ago. Also running is Stacy Paulsen.
Clinton J. Danforth is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Seven Republican candidates filed to run for western commissioner, where incumbent Rodney Barnes did not refile. Candidates are: Derf Eukel, a pastor who has been active in the Leaders Lead Locally organization, of Mt. Vernon; cattleman Rick Johnson, of rural Mt. Vernon; retired educator David Botts, of Mt. Vernon; cattleman Johnny Spencer, of rural Stotts City; Jason Massie, of Stotts City; Don Spradling, of Mt. Vernon; and Rick Taylor, of Miller.
William Gerald Malan, of Pierce City, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
The eastern commissioner race is between incumbent Joe Ruscha, of rural Verona, and first-time candidate Roger Stolting, Verona.
Other LawCo races
Several candidates are running unopposed for county office. They include: two-term public administrator Pam Miesweinkel Fobair, of Mt. Vernon; two-term incumbent assessor Doug Bowerman, of Mt. Vernon; and one-term incumbent coroner Scott Lakin, of Pierce City.
Candidates for the 29th District Senate seat include: David Sater, a Cassville businessman who has served as a state representative since 2004; James E. Strahan, Taney County assessor, small business owner and farmer who lives Kirbyville; Gayle Wridge, of Branson; and Jim Strafuss, a Taney County commissioner, who worked for Cisco Systems and lives in Branson.
Those who have announced candidacy for the open 158th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives are: Scott Fitzpatrick, of Shell Knob, owner of Maricorp U.S.; Mike Bennett, of Purdy, who owned Patriot Transportation, Bennett Truck Repair, Affordable Exteriors and Bennett Seamless Guttering; and Frank Washburn, who has served two terms as Barry County northern commissioner.