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Primary field set for Boone and Cole counties



Boone and Cole counties will see a handful of contested races for county offices come August.

Republican hopefuls are vying to win the nomination for three of the four county commission seats in the two counties. Only the two seats in Boone County have Democratic nominees, making Cole County's primary result the effective winner of the seats.

State Senate

The race for the state Senate seat representing Boone and Cooper counties will come down to two longtime area politicians. Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) will face Judy Baker, a former state representative from Columbia and 2016 nominee for Missouri State Treasurer.

Rowden served four terms as state representative from 2008-2016 in House District 44, representing parts of northeast Columbia all the way to the county's northeast end. He won a close race against Stephen Webber in 2016. Rowden is currently the Senate Majority Floor Leader.

Baker served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives. She lost a 2008 race for U.S. House of Representatives before taking over a federal position in the Department of Health and Human Services. Baker won the Democratic nomination for state treasurer in 2016 but lost by about 500,000 votes to Eric Schmitt.

State representative

Three of the seats open in Boone and Cole counties will face no opposition on the ballot.

Columbia Democrats Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens were the only ones to file to run as of Tuesday's deadline. It would be their fourth and third terms respectively.

Rep. Rudy Veit (R-Wardsville) also did not have an opponent listed. His win would give him a second term.

The other seats face no primary opposition but will lead to a contested race in November. Rep. Cheri Toalson-Reisch (R-Hallsville) will face Jacque Sample of Columbia for the 44th District. Boone County resident Adrian Plank will once again challenge Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport) for the 47th District seat representing the west side of Boone County and parts of Cooper County. Rep. Sara Walsh (R-Ashland) will likely face Kari Chesney for the 50th District, which represents parts of south Columbia, as well as parts of Moniteau, Cooper and Cole counties.

Rep. David Griffith (R-Jefferson City) will likely face Joshua Dunne for the 60th District, which represents the capital city.

County commissions

Four people have filed to run as Republicans for the Northern District seat on the Boone County Commission. That includes 2016 GOP nominee Brendan Riddles, Jim Musgraves, Sam Boyce and Tristan Asbury. The winner of the primary will face incumbent Janet Thompson, the only Democrat running for the seat.

Neither candidate for the Southern District seat will face an August primary. Commissioner Fred Parry will face Democrat Justin Aldred in the November general election.

Cole County commissioners will seek to hold their spot in August primaries. Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle will face Gary Bemboom and Harry Otto for the seat. Jefferson City Councilman Rick Mihalevich will challenge Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher for the commission seat.

Circuit judges

Three circuit judge spots will be up for election.

Two of them in the 19th Circuit in Cole County will be decided during the August primary. GOP candidate David Bandre is challenging Judge Daniel Green for the Division 2 spot. Former Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson is challenging Judge Cotton Walker for the Division 3 judgeship.

The 13th Circuit spot representing Boone and Callaway counties will be decided in November. Democrat Andrew Hirth is running against GOP candidate Josh Devine.

Other offices

Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey will seek a fifth term as the chief law enforcement officer of the county in November. He will likely face Republican challenger Charles Blair, a deputy working for Carey.

Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler is running unopposed.

Cole County Assessor Chris Estes will face three challengers for the GOP nomination: Rick Prather, Alex Meller and Jonathan Roy Meyers. Estes faced criticism from county officials over his spending at a county assessor conference last year. The county prosecutor also dropped an assault charge filed against Estes over a dispute Estes had with his neighbor.

Cole County voters will also have their choice of four candidates for the Associate Circuit Judge seat: Tim Anderson, Todd Smith, Brian Stumpe and Matt Willis. The winner will go on to face Scott Evans, who filed to run as a Democrat for the judgeship.

Many other seats in both counties have just one person running. Kenneth Mohr will likely succeed his boss Tom Schauwacker as Boone County Assessor when Schauwacker retires at the end of the year. Sonja Boone and Tom Darrough are the only ones running for their current jobs as public administrator and treasurer respectively.

Ralph Jobe was the only person to file to run for Cole County public administrator. Incumbent county treasurer Eric Peters is also alone in the field running for that office.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.. shows for ABC 17 News and reports on the investigative stories.


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