Our Opinion: City primary could decide two races

Jefferson City voters who ignore February’s primary may regret their inaction.

The city’s next mayor could be elected in the Feb. 8 vote. The office of city prosecutor also could yield a decisive vote and an increase in the city’s lodging tax will be determined at the primary.

The lodging tax proposal would raise the tax on an overnight hotel stay from 3 cents to 7 cents. The additional money would be placed in a lockbox by the Convention and Visitors Bureau for construction of a proposed conference center.

We call attention to the races for mayor and city prosecutor because, in each, three candidates have filed.

And, under the nonpartisan format approved by voters in 2001, the winner will be decided if the candidate receives more than 50 percent of the total vote.

The City Charter, Section 8.2-b, reads: “A primary election shall be held if there are two or more candidates for nomination to the same city office. If during a primary election one candidate gets a majority of all votes cast for that office, then that candidate shall be declared the winner of the office without a General (runoff) election. If no candidate receives a majority of all votes cast then the two candidates receiving the highest vote totals in the primary election shall compete in the General (runoff) election.”

The candidates for city prosecutor are: Renee Godbee, Brian Stumpe and David Barrett.

The candidates for mayor are: Eric Streumph, George Hartsfield and Leonard Steinman.

If you think it’s highly unlikely a candidate could receive more than 50 percent of the vote in a three-way primary, think again; Mayor John Landwehr was elected to his first term in the February 2003 primary with more than 68 percent of the vote.

Remember, Jefferson City primaries not only are important, they can be decisive.

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