Newcomer wins Perry Co. commissioner race

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- A former UPS driver beat out two seasoned politicians and another candidate to win Perry County's presiding commissioner seat.

Carl "Topper" Leuckel won the post vacated by retiring Presiding Commissioner Thomas Sutterer by nearly 600 votes. He beat out lawyer and former Perryville mayor Kim R. Moore and former state representative and current 1st District Commissioner Patrick A. Naeger, all Republicans.

With a total of 1,698 votes, Leuckel won against Moore's 1,123 votes and Naeger's 975. The fourth candidate, Harley J. Geile, had 57 total votes.

Leuckel faces no Democratic opposition in November.

"I'm surprised," Leuckel said. "I came into his race knowing I'd have a good chance, but I didn't think I'd win by that margin."

This will be Leuckel's first political office. He attributed his victory to voters wanting something different.

"I believe they just wanted a change," he said.

Two years ago, Leuckel ran against and lost to Naeger in an election for associate commissioner.

"I think the voters felt maybe that's the place for me to stay," Naeger said of Tuesday's election and his current post as associate commissioner. He added he looked forward to working with Leuckel in the upcoming years.

Moore said he was not surprised by the results, but saddened by it.

"I think most people knew probably Pat and I would probably split," he said. He stopped short of saying that's why Leuckel won.

Leuckel admitted that Naeger and Moore splitting the vote might have had a bearing on his win.

Geile, the only candidate who did not organize an election committee, was surprised at how few votes he received.

"I figured I'd get 300, 350," he said. "There's too much money backing those other guys."

In the only other contested primary race in Perry County, incumbent recorder of deeds Susan M. Oster beat out challenger Jackie C. Wengert 2,785 to 1,003 votes to win her second term.

"I am overwhelmed with it all," she said. Oster, a Republican, also faces no Democratic opposition in November.

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