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Mayhew files Monday for Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner post
Mayhew files Monday for Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner post

Don Mayhew filed Monday for the Republican nomination for the Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner seat now held by Democrat Don McCulloch.
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (March 3, 2010) — Another candidate filed Monday for the Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner seat currently filled by Don McCulloch: Crocker resident Don Mayhew, who currently serves as president of the Crocker R-II School Board and was formerly the Pulaski County Surveyor.

Mayhew is running in the August Republican primary against Gene Newkirk of St. Robert who filed last week Tuesday, the first day candidates could turn in their nomination papers. The winner of the Republican primary will face whoever wins the Democratic nomination, but so far, McCulloch is unopposed in the Democratic primary for his seat.

Monday’s filing means Republican voters will have at least three contested races, but so far, Democrats don’t yet have a primary contest. That’s a major change from just a few years ago in Pulaski County when many political campaigns were decided in a hotly contested Democratic primary, but Republican candidates only rarely had a viable chance of winning the fall general election.

The other Republican races are in the county clerk’s office, where two-term incumbent Diana Linnenbringer is retiring and her assistant clerk, Whitney Medlin of Crocker, faces a three-way contest against Brent Bassett of St. Robert and Rebecca Reid of Richland, and in the prosecuting attorney’s office, where one-term incumbent Deborah Hooper of Waynesville faces a challenge from Jeff Thomas of Dixon. Wayne Gifford of Laquey has filed for the Democratic nomination for prosecuting attorney but no Democrats have filed so far for county clerk.

Mayhew also filed for re-election as Republican Central Committeeman for Tavern Township, which covers Crocker and the northwest part of Pulaski County, along with Dorothy Gilstrap who is running for Republican Central Committeewoman in the same township. So far Mayhew and Gilstrap are the only candidates to have filed for the committees that run the Republican and Democratic parties in Pulaski County.

Each of the two parties has a central committee consisting of one woman and one man from each of the county’s townships. Contested races are possible, and when they happen can affect the future direction of the political parties at the county level, but Linnenbringer said she remembers only one time that more than one candidate filed for a central committee post. That was in Cullen Township, which includes the cities of Waynesville and St. Robert as well as the rural areas stretching east to Devil’s Elbow, and no other central committee race has been contested since then in either party.

As with school districts, fire districts, water districts and ambulance districts, if the same number of people file as are to be elected, the central committee positions won’t appear on the ballot and an election won’t be held for those races.

Other county candidates running include:

• incumbent County Collector Terri Mitchell, a Richland Republican,

• incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Rachelle Beasley, a Waynesville Democrat,

• Sue Rapone, a Waynesville Republican who has filed against incumbent Democratic County Treasurer Morris Roam of Crocker, who hasn’t yet decided whether to run for re-election,

• incumbent Associate Circuit Judge Colin Long, a Waynesville Democrat who serves in the magistrate division of the court, and

• incumbent Associate Circuit Judge Greg Warren, a Richland Democrat who serves in the probate division of the court.

On the state level, Rep. David Day of Dixon and Don Wells of Cabool are running unopposed for the Republican nominations for the 148th District, which covers most of Pulaski County, and the 147th District, which covers Texas County and the far southern end of Pulaski County including the Big Piney precinct. No Democrats have filed so far for either seat.

Likewise, Circuit Judge Mary Sheffield, a Rolla Democrat, is running unopposed for the 25th Judicial Circuit seat she’s held since being elected in 2004 in a disputed election against Rolla Republican Bill Hickle. At that time, Sheffield had been a full-time associate circuit judge in Phelps County for many years and Hickle had been a part-time municipal judge in Rolla as well as a full-time lawyer in private practice.

State Sen. Frank Barnitz, an incumbent Lake Spring Democrat who has served the 16th State Senate District since defeating Hickle in a spring 2005 special election to fill the seat vacated by then-State Sen. Sarah Steelman after she was elected the Missouri State Treasurer, is running unopposed in his party’s primary but will face a challenge in the general election. Don Brown, a Rolla Republican, filed to run against him and so far is the only other candidate to file for the 16th State Senate District.

On the federal level, U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton has not yet filed for re-election to his 4th Congressional District seat but has announced his intention to do so.

The decades-long incumbent faces only nominal Democratic opposition from Leonard Steinman of Jefferson City who filed Monday, but a crowded Republican field is seeking to replace him including State Sen. Bill Stouffer of Napton in north-central Missouri near Marshall, former State Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Harrisonville, former Jefferson City Councilman Roy Viessman, James Scholz of Warrensburg, Arthur John Madden of Malta Bend, and Brian Riley of Marshall.

Also running is Greg Cowan of Lebanon, the only candidate to file so far for the seat with the Constitution Party.

All six Republicans as well as Cowan filed on Feb. 23, the first day for candidate filings.

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