The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 4, 2012

Jasper County commissioner challenging GOP party chair

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Though not a candidate for County Commission this year, Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh will be on an election ballot Tuesday.

Bartosh is running for the post of Republican committeeman from the Gem Precinct, challenging longtime incumbent John L. Putnam.

Putnam also is chairman of the county’s Republican Central Committee, a post he has held for about six years.

Bartosh said he is challenging the current chairman because of Putnam’s recent support for individual Republican candidates, rather than waiting to support the nominees chosen by the party.

“I think John’s a great guy, but he’s kind of a special interest guy,” he said. “I think we need someone who’s more open and for all the people.”

Putnam also has organized recent tea party rallies and is the founder of the Southwest Missouri Conservative Network.

Bartosh, as a commissioner, also has supported candidates in primary races, Putnam pointed out. He and Sheriff Archie Dunn in 2008 publicly endorsed Craig Putnam in the race for Eastern District associate commissioner. He and Craig Putnam are distant cousins, John Putnam said.

“But I’m only supporting one candidate in the primary, as an individual, not as county chairman. That’s Todd Akin, because we have worked together on issues and we have a long friendship,” he said.

U.S. . Rep. Akin is in a three-way race with St. Louis businessman John Brunner and Sarah Steelman, former state treasurer, for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.

Putnam said he has been a GOP committeeman since 1984.

“I’ve run our get-out-the-vote drive every election since 1996, and I’ve had other people on the committee tell me they don’t think now is the time to make a change,” he said.

Under the party structure for both Democrats and Republicans, committeemen and committeewomen serve from each voting precinct, and party officers are elected from that group. There are only five voting precincts in the county where there are races for committee posts.

Other races

There are races in four other precincts, but none involve incumbents. Candidates are Linda Uselman and Pamela Morris, for committeewoman, in Webb City 4; Victoria Myers and Tara M. Bear, committeewoman, Joplin No. 23; Doug Joyce and Ray Schell, committeeman, Rex Precinct; and Bill Birkes and Madison Blaxton, committeeman, Carterville 4.

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