- Election arrives Tuesday

From left: Karla Eslinger, Van Kelly and Robert Ross

In the annuals of primary elections in Webster County, next Tuesday’s election likely won’t be remembered as an exciting one.

There is only one contested countywide race.

And it’s for county coroner.

However, several district and statewide races do feature crowded ballots, highlighted by a three-person battle for the 33rd District seat in the Missouri Senate currently held by State Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, who is retiring at year’s end due to term limits.

Three Republicans, all with experience as state representatives, want to follow Cunningham as state senator.

That field includes Karla Eslinger, Robert Ross and Van Kelly.

Eslinger, R-Wasola, is a current state representative for a district that includes Douglas, Ozark and the eastern part of Taney County. A retired public-school superintendent, she is in her first two-year term in the Missouri Legislature.

Kelly, R-Norwood, served eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives. He’s worked nearly two decades in law enforcement and also is the owner of a small business, in addition to operating Camp Joy, a Christian youth summer camp.

Ross, R-Yukon, is completing his final two-year term as a state representative, a position he’s held since first being elected in 2012. His occupation is surveyor, and he also has owned a small business for many years.

The 33rd District includes eight counties.

The two largest counties in the district are Howell and Webster. Other counties in the district include Douglas, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas and Wright.

The county coroner’s race features a pair of Republicans squaring off.

Both are from Marshfield.

The incumbent is Michael P. Taylor, who has been Webster County’s elected coroner since 2005 and is completing his fourth, four-year term of office.

His opponent is Tiffany Kirk, who is a native of Seymour.

Kirk is a family nurse practitioner at the OCH Wellpointe Clinic in Marshfield.

Northern District Commissioner Dale Fraker, a Republican, is unopposed in Tuesday’s primary; however, he has a Democratic opponent, Terry Hardy, in November’s general election.

All other Webster County races are uncontested.

Running unopposed are incumbents Randy Owens for Southern District commissioner, Roye Cole for sheriff, Austin Graybill for assessor and Danielle Boggs for public administrator. Political newcomer Gary Drennan is unopposed for county surveyor. All of the aforementioned candidates are running as Republicans.

Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, is unopposed for a third, two-year term as state representative for the 141st District, which includes the eastern half of Webster County and most of the county’s south side.

Statewide, many races have multiple candidates.

Most noteworthy is the Republican primary election for governor, which features incumbent Gov. Mike Parson, who was promoted from lieutenant governor to the state’s top post two years ago after the resignation of former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens in May 2018.

Polls show that Parson’s main opponent next Tuesday is Saundra McDowell, who ran two years ago against Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, and narrowly lost the general election.

Ironically, Galloway is the front-runner in a field of five Democratic candidates for governor.

Republican statewide officeholders seeking another term of office include Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State John R. “Jay” Ashcroft, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick and Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

One key issue on Tuesday’s ballot is state Constitutional Amendment No. 2, which was proposed by initiative petition and seeks the adoption of Medicaid expansion for persons 19 to 64 years old with an income level at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as set forth in the Affordable Care Act.

This is a yes or no ballot issue.

Cunningham offers an opinion piece in this week’s newspaper, sharing his thoughts on the issue.

There are 16 townships in Webster County.

Within those townships, there are 12 different county polling locations.

In the Seymour area, voters in the Finley Township and the Hazelwood Township cast ballots at the Seymour Nazarene Church, located at 354 North Main Street.

Diggins Township voters cast ballots at the Diggins Community Building near the intersection of U.S. 60 and South Diggins Main Street.

In the Fordland Township, voting occurs at the Fordland Middle School, located at 1230 School Street.

At Seymour’s northern edge, the polling place for voters in the High Prairie Township is the Prospect Fire Station at 9850 State Highway C, which is a Marshfield address.

The county’s polls at all locations next Tuesday will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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