Bushman re-elected presiding commissioner

Sam Bushman, left, and Carla Steck exchange comments Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, during a forum for Cole County presiding commissioner candidates at Jefferson City Hall. (Kate Cassady/News Tribune photo)

Republican incumbent Sam Bushman successfully defended his seat Tuesday in the Cole County presiding commissioner race.

In the only contested race for a countywide office, Bushman beat Independent challenger Carla Malone Steck by 13,364 votes. The unofficial totals put Bushman at 20,369 votes (74.41 percent) and Steck at 7,005 votes (25.59 percent).

"I want to thank the citizens of Cole County that have enough faith in me to elect me for another four years," Bushman said. "I'm really appreciative."

Bushman went into election night with eight years of service as presiding commissioner under his belt and more than $2,000 more in campaign finance contributions than Steck. His re-election platform was focused on finishing the county projects he started and continuing to advance the county's priorities.

About the people who voted against him, Bushman said, "There's always going to be some people who don't like me, but they're not enemies to me. They're still my constituents that I care for, and I'm always available for them to bring their concerns."

Steck was running for what would have been her first term as presiding commissioner. The focus of her platform was increasing transparency and public access to the commission.

Steck did not respond to requests for comment on the outcome of the election.

The presiding commission position pays a full-time salary of $65,379 a year. The office also comes with benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance and retirement, all paid for by the county. Unlike the Eastern and Western District commissioners, the presiding commissioner is elected by the entire county.

There were seven other Cole County officials on the ballot. All of them ran unopposed.

• Associate Circuit Judge Division 4 -- Christopher Limbaugh.

• County Clerk -- Steve Korsmeyer.

• Circuit Clerk -- Mark Eichholz.

• Recorder of Deeds -- Judy Ridgeway.

• Prosecuting Attorney -- Locke Thompson.

• County Collector -- Larry Vincent.

• County Auditor -- Mark Ruether.

Cole and Moniteau county voters approved Proposition K.I.D.S., a measure that will let the Cole County R-1 School District Board of Education borrow $5 million to construct more classrooms at the high school, renovate existing classrooms at the high school and complete other repairs and improvements in the district with any extra funds.

Voters in St. Martins voted not to pass a measure to impose a local use tax at the same rate as the total sales tax rate.

Cole County voters decided on a number of statewide elections as well:

• For United States senator, 64 percent of votes went to Republican Eric Schmitt and 33 percent of votes went to Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine.

• For state auditor, Republican Scott Fitzpatrick won 69 percent of votes and Democrat Alan Green got 27 percent.

• In the race for U.S. representative for District 3, Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer received 70 percent of the vote and Democrat Bethany Mann received 29 percent.

• For state senator of District 6, Republican Mike Bernskoetter was the sole candidate.

• For state representative for District 59, Republican Rudy Veit was the sole candidate.

• For state representative for District 60, Republican Dave Griffith got 62 percent of the votes and Democrat J. Don Salcedo got 37 percent.

• 74 percent of voters said Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer should retain his office.

• 74 percent of voters said Supreme Court Judge Robin Alok Ransom should retain her office.

• 70 percent of voters said Western District Appeals Judge Ahuja should retain his office.

• 72 percent of voters said Western District Appeals Judge Karen Mitchell should retain her office.

• 72 percent of voters said Western District Appeals Judge Mark Pfeiffer should retain his office.

• 74 percent of voters said Western District Appeals Judge Doug Thomson should retain his office.

Voters in Cole County also decided on several constitutional amendments:

• Voters voted 55 percent "no" on Constitutional Amendment 1.

• Voters voted 56 percent "no" on Constitutional Amendment 3.

• Voters voted 63 percent "yes" on Constitutional Amendment 4.

• Voters voted 62 percent "yes" on Constitutional Amendment 5.

• Voters voted 69 percent "no" on holding a constitutional convention.