Hermann Republican Timothy Schulte’s lead for the presiding commissioner’s nomination on Gasconade County’s Primary ballot Tuesday was evident as early precincts were being …
Hermann Republican Timothy Schulte’s lead for the presiding commissioner’s nomination on Gasconade County’s Primary ballot Tuesday was evident as early precincts were being counted.
Schulte was leading by better than a two-to-one margin over his nearest competitor, Republican David Slater of the Swiss community. Schulte’s early lead was 780 to 326 over Slater with eight precincts counted Running a distant third was Republican Jerry Spurgeon of the Owensville area with 109 votes. There was no Democrat running.
Schulte finished with a 56.6 percent of victory with 1,515 votes in final but unofficial tabulations. Slater finished with 639 votes and Spurgeon had 529, primarily from the south end of the county.
Schulte and Slater were both at the Gasconade County Courthouse in Hermann on Tuesday evening. Also present were Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel and Northern District Commissioner Jim Holland. Jerry Lairmore, commissioner of the Southern District, had offered his endorsement of Schulte when asked during an Owensville Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday. Miskel had previously endorsed Schulte in a public statement. He is retiring from public office and did not sign up for another term.
Schulte has said he will relinquish his Gasconade R-1 School District board of director’s seat. No time line was offered but the winner of the Primary will not have a challenger in the November General Election and is considered the presumptive winner. The new presiding commissioner’s term begins Jan. 1, 2023.
Few if any problems were reported across the county through early afternoon Tuesday, according to Gasconade County Clerk Lesa Lietzow.
There were, however, a pair of mixed breed male dogs taking up residency around the Little Berger precinct as early as Monday during the set up for Tuesday’s voting. Lietzow said a precinct worker got the animals into some shade and a voter returned from Hermann with bowls of water and food for the apparent drop-offs.
“They were very docile,” said Lietzow.“A poll worker took them into the shade and someone got water and food for them.”
At the Rural Canaan precinct at Owensville High School, Joyce and Roger Bills were part of a group of 15 people casting ballots in a 20-minute period early in the afternoon. That group would bring the tabulation to 255 people — there are around 1,600 registered there.
“We vote all the time,” Roger said when asked what brought them to the precinct. “You can’t complain if you don’t vote.”
Although the count was higher than a day’s worth of voting during the April Municipal Election there, Lietzow said she might have to reconsider her prediction of a 35-percent voter turnout.
“I think that’s what I might have said in one of my stupors,” she joked. “I know it was 30-something.”
Absentee voting was down from prior elections and she was hoping that meant it would translated into an increase of in-person voting.
“Little Berger was very busy around lunch time,” Lietzow said. “There were 225 voter at the half-way point of the day out of a thousand people (registered). I would say it’s going to be more like 25 (percent) than 30, in the end, all things considered.”
Among those issues voters had to contend with Tuesday was extremely warm weather with a heat index reaching 105 degrees.
“Yes, it’s hot,” she acknowledged. “You would have thought people would have got out earlier…it will still be hot at 6 o’clock.”
Heavy rainfall pounded the Owensville area around 4 p.m. but voting traffic appeared steady around the Ward 2 polling station at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church’s Parish Center around 6 p.m. with only an hour remaining in the election.
The Ward 1 Owensville voting machine had processed 153 ballots by 2 p.m. out of the 960 voters registered there. In Ward 2 across town, only 87 ballots had been cast by about 1 p.m. and the county’s voter turnout ended up at 28.12 percent.
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