Candidates draw numbers on first day of filing

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

POSITIONING FOR COUNTY ELECTIONS

By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

JACKSON, Mo. -- Cape Girardeau County Clerk Rodney Miller filed first for office Tuesday, heading up a parade of candidates who paid the $50 filing fee to run for county offices.

Eleven candidates filed for office on the first day of the month-long filing period. Nine of them, including seven incumbents, were on hand when Miller opened the office at 8 a.m.

But getting there early isn't the big deal it once was.

That's because Miller makes the candidates who file on the first day choose a numbered ball out of 20 such balls in an antique metal "jury box." Candidates in a primary race for a particular office will be listed in the order that they filed, with the exception that on the first day of filing the ball number determines the order. The candidate with the lower number is listed first.

Miller implemented the lottery two years ago, pulling the small, crank-turned drum off a shelf in his office. Years ago it had been used to select jury pools.

Miller said it has reduced the practice of candidates and their surrogates standing in a long line prior to the opening of the filing period for the chance to be first on the ballot.

Gerald Jones, presiding commissioner, filed for re-election during the first wave of filings but will be listed second in the August Republican primary. He chose ball 10.

Doug Flannery, a Whitewater, Mo., area construction worker, filed nearly two-and-a- half hours later. But he'll have his name listed first because of the luck of the draw. He pulled out ball No. 5.

"I liked it," Flannery said of the first-day lottery. He said it could get him some extra votes. "I've been told by a political science teacher that it does make a difference," he said. "I hope they are right."

Whose No. 1?

Diane Diebold, county collector, pulled out the No. 1 ball when she filed, assuring that her name would be listed first in the Republican primary even if she were to be challenged in her re-election bid.

"I'm in great shape," Diebold said shortly after filing.

Jackson Alderman David Ludwig got the upper hand on Cape Girardeau City Councilman Matt Hopkins in the race for county auditor. Ludwig pulled the No. 4 ball while Hopkins drew ball 17.

As a result, Ludwig will be listed first on the Republican primary ballot for auditor. Ludwig and Hopkins are seeking to succeed H. Weldon Macke, who is retiring after 34 years as the county's chief budget officer.

The other candidates who filed Tuesday are all incumbents seeking re-election. They are associate circuit judges Gary Kamp and Peter Statler, Circuit Clerk Charles Hutson Jr., Recorder of Deeds Janet Robert and Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.

The filing period ends at 5 p.m. March 26.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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