By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. - John Bartosh, a political newcomer and ally of Sheriff Archie Dunn, was elected Jasper County presiding commissioner in Republican primary balloting Tuesday.
Incumbent Commissioner Chuck Surface finished third in the three-way race. Bartosh, of rural Carthage, got 3,949 votes, with 3,298 for Carthage attorney Jim Spradling and 3,010 for Surface.
Bartosh is virtually assured of a victory in the November general election because there are no candidates from other parties on the ballot.
Bonnie Earl, of Carthage, won a three-way race for county clerk. Earl, who previously served as county clerk by appointment for nine months, received 4,948 votes to 3,713 for Connie Mosbaugh, wife of current County Clerk Ron Mosbaugh, and 1,219 for Joplin businessman Jack Stults.
Earl also will run on the GOP ballot without opposition in the November general election.
Bartosh said he was "overwhelmed" by the election results.
"There were three good people in the race, but I felt good going into it," he said. "I think people were interested in someone who was not a politician getting in there and working for them."
Dunn endorsed Bartosh when he announced his candidacy, donated to his campaign and appeared in one campaign commercial.
The election came barely a week after Surface was arrested and accused of driving while intoxicated.
Surface was stopped about 8 p.m. Friday, July 28, by a Jasper County sheriff's deputy between the Joplin Elks Club and Surface's home. The Missouri State Highway Patrol was called in to handle the case. A patrol officer performed three field sobriety tests, then took Surface to the Troop D satellite office south of Carthage for a Breathalyzer test. Surface was arrested and released. No charge has been filed yet, because the case is being handled by a special prosecutor.
Late Tuesday, Surface said he could not speculate what impact the arrest had on the vote.
"I have no idea what the impact might have been," he said. "It's really hard to say."
Surface said he appreciated being able to serve as presiding commissioner and, previously, as a state representative from the region.
"I just want to thank the folks in Jasper County for allowing me to serve them for 22 years in one capacity or other," he said.
Bartosh said his goal, when he takes office in January, will be "to get all the departments working together, and everybody moving in the same direction."
He is a businessman who owns Lucky J RV Service and has owned other companies, including Ozark Sanitation, Four-State Stockyards, Four-State Sanitation, and the Lucky J Arena and Restaurant. He is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Earl, 59, previously served nine months as county clerk at the appointment of Gov. Bob Holden after the death of Jim Lobbey. She ran for re-election as a Democrat, and lost to Ron Mosbaugh, the current clerk. Earl previously lived in Cass County, where she held the office of circuit clerk for 12 years.
She is a graduate of Jasper High School, attended Missouri Southern State University, and holds a degree in management and human resources from Mid-America Nazarene University.
By Susan Redden