Incumbents face no challenge in election for Cape council

Monday, April 5, 2004

It's no contest when it comes to Tuesday's Cape Girardeau City Council election. Councilmen Jay Purcell of Ward 3, Hugh White of Ward 4 and Matt Hopkins of Ward 5 are all running unopposed for re-election to four-year terms.

It's the first time there have been uncontested races for council seats since the city began holding ward elections a decade ago. Prior to that, all council members were elected at large.

Patty Schlosser, Cape Girardeau County elections supervisor, estimated the re-election of the three councilmen will cost the city nearly $8,200.

"It does seem like a waste of resources," said White. "But it is part of the expense of democracy." White said he's glad he doesn't have to spend several thousand dollars on a re-election campaign.

"Certainly not having to spend money fighting off a challenger is a wonderful thing," he said.

Hopkins said the lack of opposition reflects well on the current council. "Hopefully the voters see, and I think the evidence is, we are really working hard for fiscal responsibility while also trying to be a progressive city," Hopkins said.

Even as he prepares to celebrate his re-election, Purcell is campaigning to win election as a Cape Girardeau County commissioner on the Republican ticket.

If he wins election to that post in November, the city will have to hold a special election next year -- in April, June or August -- to fill the unexpired term, said city attorney Eric Cunningham.

Purcell said he hopes city residents don't ignore the ballot because there aren't any contested races for city council. He said there is a school board election that deserves voters' attention.

The lack of candidates for city office contrasts with the fact there are 20 candidates for two county commission seats running in the August primary.

"I just wish we had this much interest in running for the city council," he said.

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