Two elections required for Cape council seat

Thursday, January 13, 2005

It will take two elections -- the second one in June -- to fill the vacant Ward 3 seat on the Cape Girardeau City Council, but perhaps only one election in April to fill the vacant Ward 4 seat.

Ellen Dillon, an instructor at Southeast Missouri State University, filed Wednesday for Ward 3. She is the third candidate to file for the seat vacated by Jay Purcell who was elected to the county commission.

"I muddied the water," said Dillon, an adjunct instructor in mass communication and theater. "Now we will have a primary."

The other two candidates so far in that ward are Stan Wicks, who operates a general maintenance company, and R. Todd McBride, who has a mortgage business.

Both Wicks and McBride have stressed their small-business backgrounds.

In Ward 4, former councilwoman Loretta Schneider has filed to fill the seat vacated last fall by Hugh White, who resigned because his business schedule conflicted with council meetings.

"I have a great deal of experience in local government," said Schneider, who filed Tuesday. Schneider was elected to the city council in 1981 and was the first woman to serve on the council. She was re-elected to a four-year term and in 1986 ran unsuccessfully for mayor.

Another former councilman, J.J. Williamson, has expressed interest in running for the seat. He has been collecting signatures on a nominating petition in the northside ward.

Williamson served on the city council from 1994 to 1998. He was the first and only black to serve on the council.

If only two candidates run for the Ward 4 seat, voters will make the final choice at the April 5 election. If three or more candidates file for the seat, the April election will become a primary election as will occur in Ward 3.

Voters in a primary would narrow the field of candidates in a ward to two. Voters in that ward would choose from those two candidates in a special general election on June 7, something that is already assured in Ward 3, which is in the central part of the city.

Residents of those two wards have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file as candidates. To do so they have to submit nominating petitions bearing signatures of at least 50 registered voters in the ward.

Under the city charter, candidates must be at least 21 years of age, registered voters and have resided in the city for at least two years prior to their election. Candidates also must have resided in their respective wards for at least 90 days prior to the start of the filing period.

335-6611, extension 123

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