On the Republican ticket, Alonzo Bradwell and Jason Kemper are competing for the First District Associate County Commission position. Sheriff candidates facing off are David Bailey and Kevin Jotz. Running uncontested are Edward Casey for the Second District Associate County Commission, Russell Grooms for Assessor, and Mike Crawford for Public Administrator.
On the Democrat ticket, there are two candidates for the First District Associate County Commission position -- Nathan Roberts and incumbent John Wrenfrow. Sheriff candidates Mike Barton and incumbent George Underwood are on the ballot. Running uncontested are Charles Alford for Assessor, Mike Harber for Public Administrator, Tom Clary for Coroner and Scotty Simer for Surveyor.
The South Missourian News asked the candidates in contested races about their overall campaign experience. The races for Sheriff and First District Associate County Commissioner have been underway for months. Out of the eight candidates that will be on the ballots on Tuesday, two of them are new to the campaign process.
Alonzo Bradwell, Republican for Southern Commissioner said, he has especially enjoyed getting in touch with the public's ideas. "When I go door to door and I meet new people and explain why I'm wanting this position, they expand on my ideas and suggest ways to improve them. I'm able to figure out what the people want. It has been a real learning experience on how people would like things to be handled," said Bradwell. Throughout his campaign Bradwell has spent every day driving around talking to people or returning phone calls. "I will keep doing what I've been doing, which is trying to talk to every person I can, to get their ideas and share with them my ideas. I've really been trying," said Bradwell. He has also used Facebook and a web-site to reach the citizens of Oregon County.
Jason Kemper, also on the Republican ticket for Southern Commissioner said, "It has been a planning procedure, and hot." Kemper is a former employee of the county and he said, "It has been good getting to see a lot of people I haven't seen since I worked for the county. It has been a good experience for me," said Kemper. Kemper has used the knowledge he gained working for the county as a campaign strategy to gain the support of the voters. If selected to run in the general election in November, Kemper plans to visit with more people and campaign harder by using media outlets.
David Bailey, one of the two Sheriff candidates on the Republic ticket, said, "It has been an eye opening experience for me. I realized there is a lot of territory to cover, and nearly impossible to contact everybody in a short amount of time." He has learned the importance of networking with other individuals, politicians and building relationships with people. "It has been a lot of hard work, hours, miles, and the heat hasn't helped. It has been a good experience, a lot of fun getting to hear people's ideas and the honesty of the people in the county," said Bailey. "I'm not going to run a negative campaign against anybody and will run based on my merits and experience, and continue to get out there and talk to the people as much as I can," said Bailey when asked how he will continue if he wins the primary election.
Kevin Jotz, the other Sheriff candidates on the Republican ticket said, "The campaign process has been really heartening. I've never done anything like running for a public office, I'm not a public speaker and I am a quiet person." The amount of support that Jotz has received from Oregon County citizens has touched him. "It has been really good and I have been heartened by the amount of support from people and seeing that people have the same beliefs that I do," said Jotz. Jotz added, "I always thought I would be standing alone, and I find that to not be the case. Either way this goes, I feel really good about the experience. Since I've been in Oregon County, I've never seen any true campaigning and I like it." Jotz's campaign has included sponsoring events, attending town halls and being open to answer questions from any one. "I have been out there. I have been more open than anyone out there, and I'll speak to anyone at any time," said Jotz. If he is the Republican Sheriff candidate for the November election, Jotz plans to continue to be open to the citizens of Oregon County.
John "Big John" Wrenfrow, incumbent South Commissioner, is campaigning for another term. Wrenfrow said, "I've been going door to door, and calling Oregon County citizens who may be more secluded." Wrenfrow feels it is important to listen to voters thoughts and ideas when he is reaching out to the community. "Most of the people have understood that we have been doing what we can, with the economic situation we are in," said Wrenfrow. He uses his past and current success as Commissioner to show the citizens of Oregon County he will work for them, and is happy to say a lot of people he has talked to are proud of what has been done. Wrenfrow said his campaign for re-election has been really good, and he will continue to talk to the citizens of the county about their concerns if he is elected to be the Democrat candidate for the November ballot.
Mike Barton is hopeful his campaign will lead to being the Democrat candidate in the November election. "It is a new experience. My goals in the campaign have been to attend all public meetings, meet the public and give the opportunity to the citizens to get to know me," said Barton. He has gone door to door as much as possible. "I will not make it to every door, as I work a full-time job and support my family, unfortunately. I've been doing as much as I can and passing out brochures to inform the Oregon County citizens about myself," said Barton. Newspaper ads and radio commercials have also helped Barton inform the public about his goals as Sheriff. Barton has appreciated the positive reaction that he has received from the public. "I have had no doors slammed in my face, and everything has been positive. I will continue to do a lot of the same things I have done, and encourage the public to contact me with more ideas and questions," said Barton.
Sheriff George Underwood is hoping he will be supported as he seeks a second term. The South Missourian News asked Underwood how his campaign for re-election has been different so far, especially facing four competitors. "During the last election, I spent my time getting re-acquainted with the citizens of Oregon County. This time, they know me and are able to see some of the goals that I have accomplished as Sheriff," said Underwood. The process of re-election for the current Sheriff has involved running radio ads, putting up signs and getting out in the community as much as possible. "I am an active part of the community, on and off duty, and have come to know a lot of people over the years as Sheriff, and just want to continue to build relationships with the citizens of Oregon County," said Underwood. If he wins the primary, Underwood plans to continue his current campaign theme of being available for the community. "By serving the citizens of Oregon County every day and helping them deal with their issues, I hope they see what I am willing to do for them," said Underwood.
There are 11 polling places located in Oregon county. Voters in the Koshkonong area will go to Koshkonong City Hall, Myrtle area voters will go to the Senior Citizens building, Pleasant Hill Church, or Cotton Creek Church, Alton and surrounding area residents will go to Shilo Baptist Church, BB Community Building, the courthouse basement, Alton Assembly of God, or the VFW building, Thomasville residents will vote at the Thomasville Community Center, and Thayer residents will vote at the Thayer Church of Christ. Voting begins at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 7 and will end at 7:00 p.m.