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Former staffer wins GOP nod for recorder of deeds

Former staffer wins GOP nod for recorder of deeds

August 8th, 2018 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News
Julie Smith/News Tribune Judy Ridgeway, candidate for the position of Cole County Recorder of Deeds.

The former chief deputy recorder of deeds defeated the incumbent recorder of deeds in Tuesday's Cole County Republican primary.

The unofficial results show challenger Judy Ridgeway received 7,107 votes (52.59 percent) while incumbent Ralph Bray got 6,408 votes (47.41 percent).

"I'm just ecstatic and so grateful for everyone who supported me," Ridgeway said. "I worked hard and will work hard to win in November."

The county recorder's office is responsible for recording public documents and preserving them for historical retrieval and legal review. This includes real estate records, marriage licenses, tax liens and discharge papers.

Prior to her departure from the office in February, Ridgeway said, she performed numerous duties as chief deputy recorder, which included everything from training the office staff to recording documents in the proper order. She was there for 18 years.

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"I don't know if there was one particular issue that won the race for me, but people who use the service know that I want to help them, I know the job, and they know that I'm experienced and will be a good leader," Ridgeway said.

Bray retired in 2014 from Missouri State Parks, where he focused on preservation of state historic sites as well as historic documents and objects, then ran for recorder and won. During the 2018 primary campaign, Bray said he was proud of how the office had expanded the services they offered the public and wanted to do more if re-elected. Bray will continue to serve as recorder until a new recorder is sworn into office in January.

"I was proud of the campaign I ran," Bray said. "It was a good, honest campaign, and I'm really proud of the work we got done. I enjoyed working in this office so much. We did some great things, and I wish we would have been able to explain better all the good things we did there."

Ridgeway will go on to face Democrat Ted Stewart in November. Stewart ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary.

Along with races for recorder of deeds, prosecutor and associate circuit judge, there will be one more contested race for a Cole County government seat. Incumbent Republican County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer will face Ann Moeckli, who filed in March to run as a Green Party candidate.

Incumbents who will run unopposed in the November election include Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman and Auditor Kristen Berhorst, both Republicans who will start their second term in office.

Republican County Collector Larry Vincent will run unopposed. He has been in office since being appointed to the collector's position by then-Gov. Matt Blunt in October 2007 after Skip Rich retired.

Republican Circuit Clerk Dawnel Davidson also is unopposed. She has been in office since winning a special election in November 2012.

Republican Circuit Judge Jon Beetem also is unopposed. He has been in office since winning election in November 2006.

The associate circuit judge and all other county offices have four-year terms. The circuit judge seat Beetem is seeking again has a six-year term.