Cole County races develop

Susan Cook completes her paperwork to run for the office of Cole County clerk. She was one of the last in the initial rush to file Wednesday morning, so she had plenty of assistance from the clerk’s office staff.

Susan Cook completes her paperwork to run for the office of Cole County clerk. She was one of the last in the initial rush to file Wednesday morning, so she had plenty of assistance from the clerk’s office staff. Photo by Julie Smith.

Some new and some familiar faces were on hand Tuesday as candidate filing began for the 10 countywide offices up for election in Cole County.

Presiding commissioner, county clerk, auditor, circuit clerk, collector, prosecuting attorney and recorder of deeds, along with associate circuit judge and two circuit judge seats, are all on the ballot.

Republican Sam Bushman made his run for presiding commissioner official. Current commissioner Marc Ellinger will not run for re-election.

Bushman, who had made it known last year he would be running, said his years as a

businessman and service on various civic groups make him a qualified candidate for this position.

“I’m glad we passed the tax for the ambulance service and the jail, but we’ll see no new tax increases for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We will have to be creative and use money wisely. I do that every day in my business.”

Bushman said the county has made his business successful, and if he wins, this could be a way to give back to the county.

“Officials with the Republican Party said announce early and that could do away with a primary,” he said. “Any time you have an open seat, you get five to six people throwing their hats into the ring. People in the know said if I announced now some people wouldn’t run. If I have opponents, that’s fine. That’s what makes a democracy wonderful.”

County clerk

With Marvin Register deciding not to run again for county clerk, a number of people have thrown their hats into the ring for that office.

Steve Korsmeyer, owner and operator of Blackwell’s Garage and High Street Towing, filed as a Republican for clerk, citing more than 30 years of experience in the business world that would help him be qualified.

“When you own your business, you are the customer relations department, sales department, payroll clerk, human resources department, inventory manager, bookkeeper and janitor,” he said. “You do what needs to be done in order to provide the best outcome for your customers and retain good employees. I believe the strength of the country rests in the vote of the people. Voting is a constitutional right, and everyone should exercise that right. In order to maximize the number of voters, the experience should be convenient and pleasant.”

Also running as a Republican for clerk is Patty Bates, who said she wants to provide residents with a fair election process.

“I want to encourage all Cole County residents to register and get out there and vote,” she said. “That is our American duty if we do not bother to vote, our voices will not be heard. Our elected representatives are guided by what we say when we vote. If we don’t vote, we are sending a message to our politicians that we don’t care, and that is not right.”

Bates worked 29 years at MoDOT, 20 of which involved supervising several other employees.

Mike Sullivan, owner of Jobsite Sanitary Toilets, also filed as a Republican for the clerk’s office. He has served as a field inspector for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance, a general contractor on residential and commercial projects and as a sales representative for several companies.

“I believe my abilities to encourage and work with people, while dealing fairly with them, will be an asset for Cole County,” Sullivan said.

Susan Cook filed for the clerk’s office as a Democrat, saying she’d focus on maintaining vital records while ensuring each eligible voter has convenient access to polling places.

“I believe that Cole County residents should have an easily accessible and efficient clerk’s office, designed to fit their needs, while ensuring the most effective use of their tax dollars,” she said.

Cook is currently completing a graduate degree at Lincoln University in the field of sociology and serves as the operations manager at a local non-profit organization. She said she has experience in office and personnel oversight by managing various types of businesses over the past 14 years, including a local real estate and auctioneering company.

Recorder of deeds

There is a race for recorder of deeds where 19-year incumbent Democrat Larry Rademan is facing a challenge from Republican Ralph Bray.

“I just ask the citizens for their support, and hopefully I can continue to serve them,” Rademan said Tuesday.

Bray, who currently serves on the Jefferson City Council, had announced earlier this month his intention to run, saying he would step down from his council seat if he is elected recorder.

Circuit judge

As expected, Judge Pat Joyce filed for re-election to a six-year term in office, in the circuit court’s Division 4.

Republican Brian Stumpe filed against Joyce. He has been serving as Jefferson City prosecutor and has handled more than 30,000 cases while serving in that office. Stumpe, in collaboration with Preferred Family Health Care, also developed the DWI Portal program, which is an interactive, web-based counseling program for first-time DWI offenders and, Stumpe noted, it’s the first of its kind in the country.

“Integrity, fairness, experience, but most of all, adherence to the Constitution will be the foundations on which I campaign,” he said.

Incumbent Republican Dan Green also filed for re-election, to the circuit court’s Division 2.

Longtime Associate Circuit Judge Tom Sodergren filed for re-election as a Republican.

In more than 20 years of service, Sodergren said he has presided over more than 100,000 felony, misdemeanor and civil cases.

Before being elected to this position, Sodergren served two terms as Jefferson City municipal judge and before that was a two-term city prosecutor.

Other offices

Also filing Tuesday was incumbent Republican Dawnel Davidson for circuit clerk.

“In the last two years, I feel that my team of clerks has made significant improvements in the efficiency of case processing while maintaining accountability to the public,” she said. “With the transition to electronic filing happening in the next few months, it is an exciting and busy time for the office.”

Republican incumbent prosecutor Mark Richardson also filed his paperwork Tuesday to seek another term in office.

Other Republicans filing on Tuesday were incumbent collector Larry Vincent, and Kristen Berhorst for the auditor’s office. Both had said they planned to run prior to their filing.

Candidate filing remains open through 5 p.m. March 25. The primary election will be on Aug. 5, and the general election will be held Nov. 4.

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