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story.lead_photo.caption Ted Stewart poses for this Sept. 13, 2018, photo. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

A longtime Jefferson City businessman said his years of experience in running various operations would allow him to be an effective Cole County recorder of deeds.

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Ted Stewart is running as a Democrat in the Nov. 6 general election. He was unopposed in Cole County's August primary election. Stewart faces Republican Judy Ridgeway, who defeated incumbent Recorder of Deeds Ralph Bray in August. Bray will continue to serve as recorder until a new recorder is sworn into office in January.

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.

"I've handled millions of dollars worth of businesses, I ran businesses and I've created businesses," Stewart said. "I've filed more deeds than anybody I can think of. Because of all my business experience, I also was involved in many legal matters regarding properties, so I know those intricacies."

From 1970-94, Stewart was a consultant for the hospitality industry, a real estate developer and investment banker. Among the local projects he was involved with the Deville Apartments in 1972, Schulte's Fresh Foods in 1976 and Missouri Department of Natural Resources headquarters in 1977. He bought, remodeled and operated the Hotel de Ville, now Baymont Inn and Suites, on West Miller Street from 1994-2005.

"I've done everything in business," he said. "I've always had an interest in politics, and I was asked if I would be willing to consider running for office this year."

Stewart has run previously for Jefferson City mayor and City Council and has been involved in Democratic politics for several years.

"The office is a simple one to run," Stewart said. "If someone wants to tell you that they have to read the deeds and correct them, that's against the law. You don't change anything. You send it back to those who filed the papers and tell them to correct it. The only people qualified to make changes are those who filed the papers, their attorney or a title company.

"I have strong contacts throughout the country and am ready to work for the citizens of Cole County," he said. "I feel I can walk right into office and start with no problem at all."

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