Public administrator candidates split city, rural vote
Daniels seals win with big Shell Knob, Exeter margins
Barry County voters selected Keith Daniels as the Republican candidate for public administrator with a wide distribution of votes, according to the precinct breakdown.
Daniels, a retired health care finance executive, won the race with 2,448, or more than 39 percent of the vote, capturing 9 of the 16 precincts, including the cities of Cassville and Monett.
"I felt like I was the underdog, regardless of my background, because I've always worked and I wasn't was well known," Daniels said. "I felt like there were several major voting blocks in Barry County. I tried to do as much door-to-door as possible, and just getting out there and talking to people. Monett was one of the major voting blocks. I spent a lot of time talking to business owners, going up and down Broadway. I did the same thing in Cassville. Obviously, I think that helped. I tried really hard to get out and let people get to know me.
"Shell Knob was one of the areas I worked hard on, too. I talked to to many business owners, managers and residents, putting out brochures along the way. I did a lot of door-to-door there too, though Shell Knob is more difficult, more spread out."
Daniels said he tried to reach out to senior citizens in particular.
"I did some presentations on the Affordable Care Act at several senior centers," he said. "I think they were very well-received. Seniors are affected by this law as much or more so than anyone. I sense a high level of engagement. Talking to them gave them an opportunity to meet me. I think that really helped me a lot. I spent a lot of time going to senior housing in Monett, Cassville and Shell Knob."
Daniels won Monett with 191 votes, compared to 175 for Andy Reavis, chief operating officer with Billings Mutual Insurance, and 136 for Rodney Hughes, a retired industry customer care specialist. Reavis, however, took the two rural Monett precincts with 187, compared to 161 for Daniels and 118 for Hughes.
In Cassville, Daniels won the city vote 292-244 over Reavis and 132 for Hughes. Rural Cassville voters followed rural Monett voters and supported Reavis with 332 votes, Daniels with 303 and Hughes with 165.
Daniels, who is from Exeter, moved into the lead with 263 votes from Exeter, leaving 74 for Reavis and 64 for Hughes. He also dominated the Shell Knob vote with 235, leaving 182 for Reavis and 87 for Hughes.
Reavis kept the vote close by capturing 68 percent of the Ozark/Crane Creek vote with 213 ballots, leaving 72 for Daniels and 30 for Hughes. He also won 57 percent of the Jenkins vote with 94, where Daniels had 41 and Hughes had 29. In six precincts, including Butterfield/McDonald and Roaring River, Reavis had the majority. His 2,309 votes represented 37 percent, 139 votes behind Daniels.
Hughes gained the bulk of the Purdy vote with 229 or 41 percent, while Reavis had 175 and Daniels had 153. Hughes also won 46 percent of the Wheaton vote with 130, leaving 86 for Daniels and 67 for Reavis. Those were his only precinct wins.
Daniels said living in Exeter for 40 years and having a good reputation in the community contributed to his support there.
"People know me here, and know what kind of person I am," Daniels said. "Barry County is such a big county. I did about 98 percent of the door-to-door work myself. My wife helped. A couple grandsons handed out brochures that said 'Please consider my paw-paw.' It was very tiring and a lot of work. There were never enough hours in the day.
"I retired from Mercy after 25 years just over a year ago. I saw this election was an opportunity to give back, more than anything else, a chance to use some of my training, education and experience I had to help people."