Open seats could spark greater interest in county’s 2020 Primary

Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 9/25/19

HERMANN — Still six months away from the start of filing for Gasconade County government offices on the 2020 ballot, the chief election official is gearing for what could be a larger-than-usual …

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Open seats could spark greater interest in county’s 2020 Primary

Posted

HERMANN — Still six months away from the start of filing for Gasconade County government offices on the 2020 ballot, the chief election official is gearing for what could be a larger-than-usual field of candidates, especially in the Republican Party Primary Election — thanks in part to two open offices.

County Clerk Lesa Leitzow noted Sept. 5 prior to the start of the weekly County Commission session held at Owensville City Hall that two incumbents — Public Administrator Fay Owsley and Coroner Ben Grosse — have indicated they would not be seeking another term. Their offices are among seven that will be filled for four years in the November 2020 General Election.

Open offices often generate more interest among political hopefuls who might otherwise be reluctant to challenging an incumbent officeholder.

One race already has taken shape: Sheriff John Romanus has received an early challenge from Hermann Police officer Scott Eiler, a former member of the Owensville Police Department who ran unsuccessfully for Owensville’s city marshal position. Eiler has been active in promoting his candidacy for the county’s top law enforcement position.

And there might be others looking to wear the sheriff’s badge. Leitzow said another, as yet unannounced and unidentified, potential candidate has surfaced for sheriff. Romanus is in his first term in office.

Other county government offices to be filled in 2020 include those held by Northern District Associate Commissioner Jim Holland of Hermann, Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore of Owensville, Assessor Paul Schulte and Surveyor Vincent Klott.

All Gasconade County government offices are held by Republicans. Considering how heavily Republican the county’s voters lean, most, if not all, county government offices often are decided in the August Primary Election.

With 2020 being a presidential-election year, voter turnout is likely to be higher than in an off-year election, such as 2018. Turnout could be fueled even more if the county ballot features challenges for several of the offices.

In other matters handled by the Commission:

• The bid of $8,284 offered by Knapheide Truck Equipment was accepted for a reversible snow plow. Knapheide’s bid was the lowest of three bids received a couple weeks ago for the piece of road-clearing equipment.

• Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, responded to concerns received about dead trees standing alongside county roads that the timber usually is removed by road crews during the Road Department’s less-busy months. “Normally, it’s a winter-time operation,” Miskel said.

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