Republican nominee Cupps suspends southern commissioner campaign
Incumbent: Situation a new one, as Republican is still on ballot
The Republican nominee for Barry County Southern Commissioner is suspending his campaign, he told the Cassville Democrat in an email early Tuesday morning.
Matt Cupps, R-Shell Knob, said he is withdrawing to become part of a startup company designing and testing small-field irrigation systems. Cupps was challenging incumbent Commissioner Wayne Hendrix, D-Cassville.
"I love the area we live in and that's why I was excited to run for commissioner but I also have a lifelong passion for agriculture in the area that seems to trump other interests or hobbies," the 31-year-old Cupps told the Democrat. "After more than a few sleepless nights, I have finally decided that this is an opportunity that I will regret if I do not take. Being somewhat young and single, with the freedom to travel if I need to, I feel like this is probably the best time in my life to take part in a project like this. Most of my work will be local but require I do testing in other areas of the country, and I feel I would not be able to serve the commission to the fullest and do so at the same time."
Cupps went on to say: "What ultimately made me come to this decision is my realization that it would be very hypocritical for me to discuss how private business, agriculture and tourism are the keys to the future success of this county while running for commissioner and then not take an opportunity to potentially better agriculture in the area and hopefully create some local based business/manufacturing opportunity at the same time.
"I want to thank everyone that supported me. The support is what made my decision very hard to make. What I enjoyed most was people who opened up and told me their true worries or concerns about the area and the ideas they had. I hope that part doesn't change its refreshing to learn what is really concerning people or the history they have to share instead of the simple 'hows the weather or whats the price of gas.'"
Hendrix said the news came as a surprise to him.
"I wish Matt luck in his new venture, but this is a strange deal for me," he said. "I've talked to Gary Youngblood, [Barry County clerk], and the ballots have been printed and he will be on it. I've never been in or seen this kind of situation before."
Youngblood confirmed that Cupps is on the ballot, and they will not be reprinted unless otherwise paid for.
"My question is, what happens now with his name still on the ballot?" Hendrix said. "I plan to call the state and see what they say or figure it out here locally. My phone [Tuesday morning] has rang and rang and rang with people congratulating me, but I don't know if that's what needs to happen or not.
"I wish Matt luck and I hope he does well with his new job, and we'll carry on."
In further explaining his new business venture, Cupps wrote: "The goal stems from the idea that farmers with large field or farmers with soils that support sub surface irrigation both have access to automated, technologically advanced irrigation. Yet, If farmers/ranchers with small fields and shallow soils want to irrigate they rely on systems that require too much manual labor and constant hands on monitoring which usually isn't feasible for farmers who are also managing livestock or also work off the farm. My job would be working with farmers in the Ozarks and areas like the Ozarks to design and hopefully locally produce something that is cost effective, practical and has a low environmental impact yet give the same computer or cell phone automation that larger producers already enjoy."
The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8.