Don Mayhew drops out of Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner race
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 5:23 pm
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (March 31, 2010) — Don Mayhew has had his sights set on Pulaski County’s presiding commissioner post for months, but one day after the filing deadline, he dropped out of the race and urged other candidates in three-way races to do the same.
County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer confirmed that Mayhew pulled out of the race early Wednesday afternoon.
Mayhew, a Crocker resident, was the second of three Republicans to file for presiding commissioner; Gene Newkirk of St. Robert filed early in the process and fellow Crocker resident Dennis Thornsberry turned in his nomination papers on Monday. All men people had sought the Pulaski County Republican Central Committee’s nomination to succeed former Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall when he resigned to accept a state post, but Mayhew dropped out of consideration at the Central Committee level before the final decision was made. The Republican Central Committee eventually selected Thornsberry as its nominee to Gov. Jay Nixon, but Nixon, a Democrat, decided to select the Democratic Party’s nominee instead and appointed Don McCulloch as presiding commissioner.
Mayhew thanked his supporters and said he believes he could have won until the race became a three-way race.
“The main reason that I am pulling my name out of the commissioner’s race is I have been presented with a very good job opportunity and that opportunity would prevent me from serving as presiding commissioner,” Mayhew said. “Besides that, we’ve got a three-way race on the Republican side. I am pretty confident that I would have prevailed in the primary in a two-way race and I am confident that I would have been successful in the general election, but a three-way race becomes a gamble.”
Pulling out isn’t just a personal decision, Mayhew said, but is a decision for the good of the party.
“A three way race has a tendency to dilute the results and no candidate comes out of that with a clear mandate. I am concerned this will divide the party,” Mayhew said. “I do believe two-way races in primaries are both healthy and necessary to the process. I am confident that the remaining candidates will all represent the Republican Party well and the values it stands for.”
Mayhew, who is a member of the Pulaski County Republican Central Committee, noted that he cannot endorse any candidate until the primary race is over and said he won’t indicate whether he prefers Thornsberry or Newkirk.
Pulaski County Republicans have several other three-way races.
For the treasurer’s post, Sue Rapone of Waynesville was the only Republican candidate until the last day of filing when Larry Southard of Laquey and Debbie P. Harris of Richland turned in their papers. Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Hooper of Waynesville and challenger Jeff Thomas of Dixon both filed on the first day candidacy opened; Kevin Hillman, the St. Robert city attorney and Waynesville municipal judge, filed on the last day. Three candidates for county clerk, Whitney Medlen of Crocker, Brent Bassett of Dixon, and Rebecca Reid of Richland all filed the first day.
“I would like for those in similar positions in other races to consider the good of the party; three way races in a primary historically do more to help the opposition,” Mayhew said. “Whatever decision they make, I would advise all candidates to stick to the issues and stay positive and stay away from the gutter politics that have characterized the national scene.”