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Local CPA Harry Otto announced his candidacy Friday for Cole County Western District commissioner.

He will run as a Republican.

"After a career in the practice of public accounting in Cole County and several positions in state government, I have a solid background and experience in how county government should efficiently operate for the benefit of its citizens," Otto said in a news release.

Otto served as deputy state auditor from January 2011 to May 2015. During his time in the state auditor's office, he was involved in more than 80 Missouri county audits and numerous audits of political subdivisions and statewide elected officials. He also served as a legislative tax fiscal analyst for the Missouri General Assembly and most recently as the legislative director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Otto previously served as president of the Missouri Society of CPAs and also served on the Council of the American Institute of CPAs.

Otto's activity in local organizations has included serving as president of the Jefferson City Host Lions Club, president of the St. Mary's Health Center Foundation, president of the Helias Catholic School Board and chairman of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce board. He currently serves on the board of the Safety Net of Missouri.

Kris Scheperle, also a Republican, is currently serving as Western District commissioner. Scheperle has not announced whether he will seek re-election.

Other Cole County offices up for election in 2020 include Eastern District commissioner, sheriff, assessor, public administrator and treasurer.

There will also be an election for the circuit judge seat currently held by Presiding Judge Pat Joyce, who is retiring, as well as the newly created second associate circuit judge position. The circuit judge position currently held by Judge Dan Green is also up for re-election.

Filing for countywide offices in 2020 officially opens Feb. 25 and ends March 31. The primary election will be Aug. 4, and the general election will be Nov. 3, 2020.

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