Associate judge withdraws from election

By JoEllen Black/Richmond News

A county race took a surprising turn Tuesday – the final day of official candidate filings – when 8th Circuit Court Associate Judge James Thompson withdrew his name for re-election in the final 30 minutes of filings.

The race now has a sole candidate, attorney Lori Baskins, who filed as a Democrat.

“I filed, but made a decision to withdraw, not to run for re-election and to retire,” Thompson said later to The Richmond News.

“My wife retired last fall and I’m going to join her and recoup some of the money I put into Social Security,” he said, in his trademark dry wit.

Thompson was Ray County prosecutor for more than seven years before Gov. Jay Nixon appointed him associate judge following the retirement of David Busch. He then retained the position in the 2010 election.

A withdrawal of a candidate also occurred in the open-wide county treasurer’s race, when five-term treasurer Jo Ann Burnine chose not to seek re-election. Melissa Holloway, an employee of Garner McCalley, chose not to run. The field now has two remaining Democratic candidates, Betty “Susie” McBee of rural Richmond and Renea Williams, co-owner of Hometown Pizza in Richmond. No Republicans filed.

Five candidates have entered the race for Presiding Commissioner after Democrat Bob King chose not to seek re-election.  Democratic candidates include Phil McGinnis of Richmond, John R. Long of Camden and Richmond firefighter Karl Carter, and Republicans Billy Gaines of Richmond and Gary Wilhite of rural Excelsior Springs.

Three Democrat incumbents are faced with Republicans challengers in the recorder of deeds, county clerk and county prosecutor races. Former Lawson and Rayville city clerk Merry Marler, now employed at the county clerk’s office, is running as a Republican against Democrat incumbent Shirley O’Dell, who is seeking her fourth term.  Richmond attorney Camille Johnston, a Republican, will run against county prosecutor incumbent Danielle Rogers, a Democrat. Republican incumbent County Clerk Glenda Powell’s challenger is Democrat Tammy Menke, owner of Trophies by Menke.

Deputy County Collector Julie Chowning has filed for the collector’s job as a Democratic candidate; she’s been with the office for 10 years. She faces no opponents.

Circuit Court Clerk Carolyne Conner is the sole candidate for court clerk.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 5.

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