By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Challenger Randee Kaiser won the Republican nomination for Jasper County sheriff over incumbent Archie Dunn in primary election balloting on Tuesday.
Kaiser, currently assistant chief of the Carthage Police Department, garnered about 60 percent of the vote in a three-way race. According to complete but unofficial returns, Kaiser received 9,749 votes to 4,881 for Dunn and 1,466 for a third candidate, Larry Newman, a former sheriff’s deputy.
Kaiser late Tuesday said he was “very pleased and excited” about the election results, and he credited “a great group of supporters” who worked in his campaign.
He also said he was “humbled” by the margin of victory.
“It shows people have put their trust in me, and I’ll strive not to disappoint them,” he said.
With one exception, all the county races were decided among Republican candidates in Tuesday’s balloting. Kaiser will face a Libertarian candidate, John J. Karriman, in November, and the new terms will not start officially until January.
Jim Honey, the incumbent, received 5,193 votes to win the race for Eastern District associate county commissioner over challengers Ron Hitchcock, with 2,618 votes, and Blane Mitchell, with 1,936 votes.
Rob Chappel received 8,855 votes to win re-election as coroner. Scott Keatts had 5,738 votes.
Denise Rohr was the winner by a 61-vote margin over Mary Lou Newman Teel in a three-way race for treasurer. Rohr received 5,754 votes, followed by 5,693 for Teel and 3,626 for Justin Baucom. The post is being vacated by Jeannie Wells, who is retiring. Both Rohr and Teel had worked as deputies in the treasurer’s office.
Dunn was seeking his third full term as sheriff after being appointed to the post in 2003. Attempts to reach him by phone Tuesday night for comment were unsuccessful.
Campaign spending among the three candidates for sheriff topped $100,000. Kaiser had the backing of John Bartosh, presiding county commissioner. Dunn and Bartosh had been allies earlier, but the sheriff and the commission have been at odds for more than a year, primarily in disputes regarding expenditures of revenue from the law enforcement sales tax. Dunn filed suit against the commission over that conflict and other issues, and the two sides have sparred frequently over the control of the sales tax funds, the sheriff’s budget, the jail and other issues.
Those conflicts were cited by several Joplin voters as they left the polls on Tuesday.
Lloyd and Sara Ditto, of Joplin, complimented work by Dunn to gain passage of the county’s law enforcement sales tax. But, they said they voted for Kaiser because they did not like the frequent fighting between the sheriff and members of the County Commission.
“There’s been too much water under the bridge there; something has to change,” Sara Ditto said.
Sara Pinjuv, of Joplin, said she also voted for Kaiser. She said Dunn had “served well, but I think the county is ready for a change, and I’ve heard a lot of positives about him (Kaiser).”
Voter turnout Tuesday was nearly 24 percent.
With 49 of 49 precincts reporting, unofficial returns from Tuesday's primary election are as follows:
Archie Dunn 4,881
Larry Newman 1,466
Randee Kaiser 9,749