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Lower spenders beat big spenders in election
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Nov. 8, 2008) — Campaigns can be expensive, but in each Pulaski County campaign where one candidate far outspent the other, the winning candidate was the one who spent the least.

Incumbent Republican Sheriff J.B. King eked out a narrow victory of only 40 votes in a race that came down to 6,440 votes for King and 6,400 for his Democratic challenger, former Sheriff J.T. Roberts, who tried but failed to win re-election to the office he held for 12 years until he was defeated four years ago by King.

The margin of victory was greater for incumbent Democratic Assessor Roger Harrison, who had raised and spent less than $300 as of the last campaign filing date eight days before the Nov. 4 election, but won by a 7,418 to 5,287 margin over his Republican challenger, Ed Warden, who spent $1,950. The disparity was even greater in the Western District County Commission race between the Democrat, retired banker Wayne Anderson of Richland, who despite spending $8,700, lost by a 2,133 to 1,840 margin to fertilizer application company owner Ricky Zweerink of Crocker, who like his two Republican opponents in the primary, raised and spent so little money that he didn’t file a campaign finance report with the Pulaski County Clerk.

By far the most expensive campaign in Pulaski County was the race for sheriff. The hotly-contested race featured two Republicans and two Democrats, and the four candidates combined raised or spent more than $27,000.

Reports filed with County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer show that Roberts raised $12,200, or nearly half of that total. He dramatically outspent his Democratic primary opponent, Bill Anderson who lives north of St. Robert, who spent more than $7,700 in his unsuccessful August primary race, as well as King, who as of Oct. 24 had raised $5,794 combined for the primary and general elections, and spent $3,605.

The defeated Republican candidate, Terry Roberson of Devil’s Elbow, lagged far behind with slightly more than $1,000 raised in the primary election.

No other races came close to costing the same amount of money. Candidates who spend minimal amounts of money aren’t required to file campaign finance reports, and no candidate running for the Pulaski County 911 Board chairmanship or the Pulaski County surveyor post filed a finance report.

The Eastern District race for County Commission was more closely matched. Republican incumbent Bill Farnham’s contributions as of Oct. 23 were $1,850 and his Democratic challenger, Earl Arnold, raised $2,850 as of Oct. 27. Arnold’s fundraising included a primary race against Bobby Miller, a former Pulaski County presiding commissioner, who raised more than $1,400 in his unsuccessful primary race. However, Arnold lost by a margin of 4,157 to 4,566 to Farnham.

Click here for a copy of Roberts' court petition

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