Bob Mitchell: Cassville Democrat's role in local elections

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In just six days, we will know the Republican nominee for Barry County sheriff, as well as who will become the next public administrator. There will be one significant historical mark for this year's voting.


Not since 1972 have there been more candidates running for sheriff. That year, there were a total of 25 candidates that inked candidate declarations for both political parties, including one independent. There weren't sufficient spaces in some advantageous locations for candidate signs to go around, so many of those running 44 years ago had to chose lesser-traveled sites to stake their signs to attract voters. You can read more about the 1972 election on the front page of this week's paper.

Signage void this year

One of the most popular spots for candidate signs was the G&R corner on Highway 37 in Purdy. Years past, motorists had to stop and concentrate on the signs posted.

Today, there are zero signs in this location, leading to considerable speculation.

Right south of this site, and on the opposite side of the highway, there are a number of candidates who have staked out a spot for one of their larger signs.

Congratulations to those candidates who did not choose to use bumper strips on vehicles this year. They were mostly considered worthless in gaining voter approval and certainly not the easiest campaign vehicle to remove when elections were over.

Democrat's name once meant what it said

For the most part of 50 years that I served as editor of the Cassville Democrat -- once a partisan newspaper -- there was no doubt which party the paper would support. That practice ended when a boyhood friend and fellow church deacon ran for county office. We broke tradition, with my mother's approval, and supported his run for office. Since he was a Republican, backed by the party leaders, his election was expected, but at least it broke a tradition that had been long lasting.

The next GOP candidate to get the Democrat's nod was for Missouri's Senate seat from the southwest corner of Missouri. Next was for the GOP Congressman Gene Taylor, who had been nothing but excellent in assisting Cassville with federal funds for infrastructure, which should still have money in the city's balance sheet.

Democratic sheriffs

There have been only enough Democratic sheriffs in Barry County in reachable memory that they can be counted on one hand.

Evan Shore, back in the moonshine-making days in the hollows in Barry County, kept his popularity by busting up the moonshine stills and displaying them on the public square in Cassville. His popularity in later years gave him a long run as Cassville mayor and connections in Jefferson City put him on the State Park Board, and years as concessionaire at Roaring River.

Troy Wilson got closer to my generation, probably because his son, Trolinger, and I were raised together. Troy had his problems in office, and was probably saved by his wife, Maud, who was credited with being a big factor in his gaining the office. She was a Republican. She also taught piano and accordion to almost everyone. In addition, she would take some of her students on campaign stops and entertain the audiences.

Follow the money

Campaign finance reports, found in this week's paper, are always interesting reads.

This is one law in the state of Missouri that has some teeth in it and can carry considerable penalty if not filed on time and accurately. There have been those not permitted to assume the office to which they were elected for not being timely and accurate with these reports.

Historical notes

Important to lots of us, July 27 has significance, because in 1953, the Korean War Armistice was signed.

Farther back in history, a week after the Primary Election, Aug. 9, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, beginning the end of World War II.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: