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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Primary election marked by close races

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 ~ Updated 9:03 AM

An active turnout brought surprises in Barry County and positive news to money issues in Lawrence County in yesterday's election.

Over 37 percent of Barry County's 20,271 registered voters cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary election. An increase in voter interest could be credited to a number of highly contested races on the Republican ticket.

A 28 percent voter turnout in Lawrence County was fueled by a hotly contests race for western commissioner.

Barry County

In the race for the Republican nomination for northern commissioner, Gary Schad emerged the winner in a four-person race. Schad gained 767 votes or 29 percent to top Eddie Dummit with 592 votes or 22 percent. David Redshaw was third with 532 votes or 20 percent. Duane Kaiser was fourth with 431 votes. Tom Hutchens placed a distant fifth with 227 votes or 8 percent. Machelle Vanderpool was last with 133 votes.

The Monett vote proved pivotal in the race, with Schad carrying 290 or 44 percent, the only precinct he won. Monettans gave 119 votes to Redshaw, 72 to Dummit and 63 to Hutchens. The Purdy/McDowell vote, the home precinct for Schad and Redshaw, was rather evenly split. Redshaw led with 149 or 24 percent, the only precinct he carried, while both Schad and Dummit had 133 or 22 percent.

Dummit carried Butterfield, Golden, Kings Prairie and Ozark.

In the sheriff's race, four-term incumbent Mick Epperly barely survived a strong challenge by David Bowman, who doubled the number of votes he earned running against Epperly four years ago. Epperly had 3,301 votes or 51 percent to 3,219 for Bowman.

Epperly carried Monett 389-278. He also carried the city of Cassville, Crane Creek, Golden, Jenkins, Ozark and had his biggest margin in Shell Knob, where he had a 394-vote edge. Bowman carried Ash, Butterfield, Capps Creek, rural Cassville, Exeter, Purdy (by two votes), Roaring River, Seligman, Washburn and Exeter. The candidates tied with 147 each in Kings Prairie.

One of the closest races of the night was for public administrator. Pam Modlin won by a 103-vote margin over Stormy Holtzman. Modlin won with 3,217 or almost 51 percent of the votes, compared to 3,114 for Holztman.

The votes in Purdy proved the most pivotal in the race. Modlin carried the Purdy/McDowell precinct 354-241. Modlin carried Monett 353-293. The city and rural Cassville vote went 776-668 for Modlin. Holtzman carried 10 precincts, gaining her biggest margin with 75 votes in Exeter.

Lawrence County

In the seven-person race for the Republican nominations for western commissioner, retired educator David Botts, of Mt. Vernon emerged out of the pack to win. Botts had 996 votes or 32 percent of the vote. Taking second was rural Mt. Vernon cattleman Rick Johnson with 602 votes or 20 percent.

Trailing were Johnny Spencer with 574, Jason Massie with 374, Rick Taylor with 186, Derf Eukel with 180 and Don Spradling with 165.

Botts will face Democrat William Gerald Malan in November.

In the race for sheriff, one-term incumbent Brad DeLay won easily with 4,465 votes or 80 percent. Rick Abney, making his second challenge against DeLay, had 689 or 12 percent. Stacy Paulsen had 412 votes.

In the race for eastern commissioner, incumbent Joe Ruscha easily defeated challenger Roger Stolting. Ruscha had 2,064 votes or 85 percent to 367 for Stolting.

State legislature races

The new 158th District, containing Barry County and small slivers of Lawrence and Stone counties, had a decisive winner in newcomer Scott Fitzpatrick, of Shell Knob. Fitzpatrick won with 4,778 votes or 42 percent (2,718 Barry County, 39, Lawrence, 21 Stone).

Taking second was Mike Bennett with 2,231 or 34 percent (2,157 Barry, 56 Lawrence, 18 Stone). Frank Washburn was third with 1,635 or 24 percent (1,575 Barry, 58 Lawrence, 2 Stone).

Fitzpatrick won 11 Barry County precincts. His biggest margin was in his base in Shell Knob, where he had 423 votes or 65 percent, 193 more votes than both his opponents combined.

Washburn carried Monett with 303 votes or 45 percent, to 237 for Bennett and 141 for Fitzpatrick. He also carried Kings Prairie with 42 percent. Bennett had 374 or 61 percent of the Purdy/McDowell vote, compared to 132 for Washburn and 108 for Fitzpatrick. He also carried Wheaton and Washburn.

In the 29th District state senator race for the Republican nomination, David Sater of Cassville built a commanding lead in Barry and Lawrence Counties to win in a four-person race. Sater had 10,094 votes or 43 percent. James Strahan was second with 5,979 votes or 25 percent. Jim Stafuss had 5,212 or 22 percent. In fourth was Gayle Wridge with 10 percent.

By earning 5,116 votes in Barry County, Sater finished well ahead of his nearest challenger James Strahan, with 557 votes.

In Lawrence County, Sater had 3,404 or 64 percent, compared to 851 for Strahan, again taking second with 16 percent of the votes.

Local issues

Pierce City voters gave easy passage to the $750,000 bond issue to make improvements in the water and sewer system. The revenue bond issue, requiring a simple majority, passed 158-22 with 88 percent in favor.

Marionville R-9 School District patrons approved a $1.3 million bond issue to build a vocational agriculture building, and an addition to the high school cafeteria and to complete other remodeling and repairs to existing facilities. The bond issue passed 511-308, or 62 percent, well above the needed 57 percent.

The Southwest School District's $1.5 million bond issue once again fell short of receiving 58 percent of the vote. The issue was only approved by 49.71 percent of voters.

Proposition Safety, which would have funded the construction of a new music room at the high school and new elementary and middle school offices, received 343 "yes" votes. There were 347 voters who opposed the issue.

Although Washburn voters approved the issue by 52.25 percent, Seligman voters opposed the issue by 57.67 percent. A total of 151 votes were cast in favor of Proposition Safety and 138 voters opposed the issue in the Washburn precinct. The issue garnered 91 "yes" votes and 124 "no" votes in the Seligman precinct.

A more complete breakdown of the local vote will be reported in the Thursday issue of The Times.

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