By Susan Redden
When area voters go to the polls for the April 2 city and school elections, they’ll be deciding primarily city leadership posts.
There are no races for board posts in a number of school districts in the region — Joplin, Webb City, Carthage and Neosho — so there will be no elections in those districts. In the four districts, incumbent board members are the only candidates running, and state law allows school districts to forgo board elections if candidates on the ballot equal the same number of posts to be filled.
That’s not the case, however, for city races, where elections will be held even if there is no contest on the ballot.
The exception applies to all nonpartisan elections, except those for municipalities, noted Liz Abram-Oldham, a spokeswoman with the office of Jason Kander, Missouri secretary of state.
There also is no election in Joplin, which holds City Council votes in even-numbered years.
Joplin School Board members who will be returned to office without a vote are Michael D. Landis and Dawn Sticklen, and on the Webb City School Board, incumbents remaining on the board are Dan McGrew and Kevin Crane.
Only one council race is to be decided in Webb City, where incumbent Brandon Wilson is being challenged by Mike Kirby for the 4th Ward council post.
Remaining council members, all incumbents, are running unopposed. They are Doug Goodall, in the 1st Ward; Gina Monson, 2nd Ward; and Alan Hughes, 3rd Ward.
In Carthage, there will be races for council seats for two wards. In the 1st Ward, candidates are Jim Swatsenbarg, the incumbent, and Trevor C. Smith, and in the 3rd Ward, incumbent Steve Leibbrand is being challenged by Mike Hutton. Other incumbents, running unopposed, are Lawrence Chapin, 2nd Ward; Dan Rife, 4th Ward; and Ed Hardesty, 5th Ward.
There is no contest for the Carthage School Board, where incumbents Mark Westhoff and Justin Baucom are standing for re-election.
In Carl Junction, there will be one race for a one-year term in the 2nd Ward. Candidates are Tim Smith, who was appointed to fill the post, and Michael Burns.
Mayor Mike Moss and the remaining candidates, all incumbents, will run without opposition.
Other candidates are Sean Haase, in the 1st Ward; Bob Cook, a two-year term in the 2nd Ward; Richard Zacardelli, 3rd Ward; and Steve Daniels, 4th Ward.
Two incumbents and one challenger will vie for two seats on the Carl Junction Board of Education.
Incumbents Larry Cowger and Bonnie Stutesman have both filed for the posts, along with Frank Pittman.
Duquesne voters will be deciding contests for the office of mayor and both aldermanic posts.
Denny White has drawn a challenge from Lisa Daugherty in the mayor’s race.
Candidates in for the 1st Ward aldermanic post are Frank Herron, incumbent, and Barbara Welch, and in the 2nd Ward, George Reeve, incumbent, and Roger Bone.
Duenweg voters will decide races in both ward aldermanic posts.
In the 1st Ward, candidates are Don Johnson, the incumbent, and challengers Sheila Foster and Jeff Culbertson. In the 2nd Ward, incumbent William Haldeman also is seeking re-election, and is being challenged by Jeff Littrell.
Jonathan Russell, David Pevahouse, William Weber and incumbent Mike Stauffer have filed for two general positions on the Neosho Board of Education. Incumbent Chris Parks isn’t seeking re-election.
There will be no contest in the Neosho City Council election. Only incumbents Tom Workman and Steve Hart filed as candidates.
There are three candidates for the open 1st Ward seat on the Seneca City Council: B.J. Baca, Bob Wilson and Donald Ackerson. Incumbent John Adams isn’t seeking re-election.
In the 2nd Ward, Skyler Jones, Bruce Jeffers and Cecil Vance are vying for the position.
Incumbent Hack Zane is the only candidate in the 3rd Ward.
The four candidates for two general positions on the Seneca Board of Education are Suzanne Brown, Lee Hall, Frank Ikerd and incumbent Roger Robertson. Another incumbent, David Pickering, isn’t seeking re-election.
There’s an election contest for the West Ward position on the Diamond City Council, where incumbent Nancy Lewis didn’t seek re-election. The candidates are Jennifer Towe and Brenda Schmitt.
Incumbent East Ward Councilwoman Billie Jo Hardy and incumbent Mayor Shane Hunter don’t have any competition in the election.
On the Diamond Board of Education, Beth Nickolaisen, Max Struewing, Chris Macy and incumbent John Littlefield filed for the two general positions to be decided. Incumbent Randy Tuter didn’t file for the re-election.
There are four candidates for mayor in Granby, where incumbent Donna Fullerton isn’t seeking another term. The candidates are Craig Hopper, R.L. Arnall, Paul Ferguson and Martin Lindstedt.
There also are election contests for the South Ward and North Ward council positions. In the South Ward, Ira Hawkins is challenging incumbent Tom Cole. Travis Gamble is challenging incumbent Melinda Stribling in the North Ward.
George Kelly is challenging incumbent City Collector Sharon Stephenson in the election.
Four candidates have filed for the two general positions on the East Newton Board of Education. They are Vicky Rawlins, Martin Lindstedt, and incumbents Mark Knight and Keith Guinn.
Those who have not registered to vote must do so by March 6 to be eligible to vote in the April 2 election.