Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mission Impossible Might Be Possible for Gop This Year

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mission Impossible Might Be Possible for Gop This Year

Article excerpt

It's not impossible for a Republican to be elected to the Jefferson County Commission. It's just that it hasn't been done in 44 years.

But some people - Republicans and Democrats - are wondering if this is the year for a GOP comeback.

As the county continues to grow in population - it has about 185,000 residents - Republicans have gained strength in the north end where development is occurring along highway corridors. Republicans now hold four of the six state representative seats whose districts lie wholly or partly in the county.

This has made Republicans hopeful of winning some county offices, including seats on the three-member County Commission.

That thought has struck fear in the hearts of the Democratic leaders. They are determined to win back the legislative seats and keep their hold on county offices.

The race for presiding commissioner is expected to dominate voters' attention in the general election Nov. 8. In that race, State Rep. Jon Selsor, R-Kimmswick, is challenging Ron Casey of Festus, who has been the associate commissioner from the county's 2nd District for eight years.

Selsor recently checked records at the courthouse in Hillsboro and found that the last Republican who headed the county commission (formerly called the County Court) was John Becker Jr., from 1942 to 1950. Charles Stutz, who served a two-year term as associate judge (the former title for county commissioners) in 1950-52, was the last Republican to be elected.

In 1989, Carol Stallman, a Republican, was appointed to serve an unexpired term as the 1st District associate commissioner, but she lost the election in 1990.

Some other Republicans have been appointed to fill associate circuit judge posts over the years, but were not re-elected. The only Republican prosecutor in recent decades has been G. William Weier who served from 1968-70.

"My goal is to make this a two-party county," Selsor says. "It's not healthy to let one party run the show for that length of time. Not enough challenging questions are being asked."

Casey, who recently won the Democratic nomination for presiding commissioner, says the Democrats deserve to stay in office because they've provided good leadership as the county has grown. …

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