Senninger wins LawCo presiding commissioner race
In one of the tightest races of the August primary, educator Bob Senninger of Freistatt topped Mt. Vernon businessman Tom Sallee for the Republican nomination for presiding commissioner of Lawrence County.
In a race of first-time candidates, Senninger received 2,730 votes or 52 percent, compared to 2,526 for Sallee.
Both candidates ran strong battles in the biggest population centers of the county. Sallee carried Aurora by 10 votes, 450 to Senninger's 440, while Senninger took Mt. Vernon with 657 to Sallee's 635.
The Monett-Pierce City-Verona area proved pivotal for Senninger. He carried Monett's Forest Park precinct 263-143, and Pierce City 157-116, as well as the Spring River precinct in Verona 120-85. Senninger was especially strong in his home base of Freistatt, winning 92-26. Sallee was particularly strong in the Marionville area, where he received 322 votes to Senninger's 242.
"I honestly didn't know what to expect," Senninger said. "I'm a little relieved, but there's another round to go."
In November Senninger will face Mike Palmer, a retired executive with Empire District Electric, who is running as an independent.
Senninger said he did not plan to change his positions to run against Palmer, but would use a different campaign strategy.
"There was no overall area that was a landslide for either of us," Senninger said. "It looks like Aurora and Marionville need some work. Overall, I felt real good about [Tuesday's] vote."
Senninger did not recall any burning issues brought to his attention during the primary race.
"I think people are hoping that whoever gets the job will do the job," he said. "I'll just do the best job I possibly can. I want to make sure I keep the public trust. If they entrust me with the position, I will uphold my end of the deal making Lawrence County a great place to live."
Sallee was not available for comment at presstime.