The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 8, 2014

In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.

Totals are according to complete but unofficial returns Tuesday night from Jasper and Newton counties.

In Zone 4, incumbent Mike Seibert received more than twice the votes of his challenger, Jack Golden. Golden held a general seat on the council when he filed against Seibert for the zone seat. The vote was 4,396 to 2,105.

In addition to Golden, Trisha Raney was the other incumbent who was not returned to the council.

Golden and Raney were among the five council members who voted to fire Rohr without cause at a Feb. 4 meeting that stoked weeks of backlash from residents that included letter writing campaigns, heavy attendance at council meetings, and complaints to the attorney general's office and the state auditor's office.

Vote totals show that newcomer Ryan Stanley led the general seat polling with 5,276, with Miranda Lewis only two votes behind at 5,274. Incumbent Mike Woolston received 2,958 votes to win his general seat back. Raney received 2,203 votes. Vote totals for the other general seat candidates were Jim West, 2,223, and Harvey Hutchinson, 1,944.

Incumbent Gary Shaw, who was unopposed for the Zone 1 seat, received 5,618 votes.

Woolston, a real estate agent, was criticized in the Feb. 4 council investigation report for creating the appearance of impropriety for abstaining from votes in 19 property transactions that involved land where the new Joplin Public Library is to be located. Woolston said the land was not identified as the site for the library when he brokered land purchases on some of the tracts. In campaign advertising, he reminded voters that he was mayor in the aftermath of the 2011 tornado.

"I'm obviously pleased about being re-elected, but I realize there are some citizens that feel like I have trust issues," Woolston said. "I'll try to make myself available to those people in an attempt to reassure them I've done nothing wrong. I'll continue going forward protecting the city and doing everything I can to keep from having the appearance of impropriety."

Seibert, sunburned from standing outside polling places on Tuesday meeting voters, said: "I really feel like the citizens have paid close attention to the issues of Joplin. They showed up and they voted their conscience, and now I think the City Council needs to take that into account and move the city in a forward direction."

Stanley said the election generated "quite a few different voices, and I am emboldened by Joplin's confidence in me and I am excited about leading for the next four years."

Lewis said of her win: "I cannot tell you how I excited I am. I didn't know what to expect being a first-time candidate."

The number of votes carried by the candidates in the Jasper County portion of Joplin:

General seats -- Lewis, 4,116; Stanley, 4,090; Woolston, 2,266; West, 1,812; Raney, 1,800; Hutchinson, 1,581.

Zone 4 -- Seibert, 3,379; Golden, 1,716.

Zone 1 -- Shaw, 4,422.

The number of votes in the Newton County portion of Joplin:

General seats -- Lewis, 1,158; Stanley, 1,186; Woolston, 692; West, 411; Raney, 403; Hutchinson, 363.

Zone 4 -- Seibert, 1,017; Golden, 389.

Zone 1 -- Shaw, 1,196.

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