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Swearing In of Elected Officials
CT January 2, 2015

The close of 2014 brought new beginnings as six Livingston County officials began new terms in office.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

A swearing-in ceremony was conducted in the circuit courtroom of the Livingston County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon, December 31, 2014. Starting new terms are front, from left: Brenda Wright, beginning her fifth term as circuit clerk; Sherry Parks, beginning her second term as county clerk; Kelly Christopher, beginning her second term as recorder of deeds; back from left: James P. Valbracht, beginning his third term as associate circuit court judge; Ed Douglas, beginning his first term as presiding commissioner; and Adam Warren, beginning his second term as prosecuting attorney.

November 4, 2014, Election Results

Election Has 43 Percent Voter Turnout
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
November 5, 2014

Livingston County voters elected a new presiding commissioner Tuesday and chose to keep three other officeholders in positions they had sought to retain. Voter turnout was 43 percent, lower than the anticipated 55 percent; however, Livingston County Clerk Sherry Parks, who was seeking re-election, said she was pleased with the turnout. "The election went very well, and we had very few problems at the polls," she stated. "We had steady voting all day long at all of the precincts. I'm happy with everybody who got out and voted."

For the open seat of Livingston County presiding commissioner, Ed Douglas, a Republican, won over Billy Peniston, a Democrat, and Libertarian Jeffery Curtis Foli by capturing 68 percent of the votes cast. The position is currently held by Eva Danner Horton, a Democrat, who chose not to seek re-election to a sixth term. The other contested local races - those of county clerk, recorder of deeds and collector-treasurer - were closer, as challengers made a good showing against the incumbents. Each incumbent, however, captured enough votes to retain their positions. The closest margin was that between County Clerk Sherry Parks, a Democrat, and challenger Jennifer Lightner Leach, a Republican. Parks took in 54 percent of the votes, compared to Leach's 46 percent. The race for the office of recorder of deeds was won by incumbent Kelly Christopher, a Democrat, who pocketed 56 percent of the votes cast, compared to her challenger, Dowell Kincaid, a Republican, who took in 44 percent of the votes cast. In the race for collector-treasurer, incumbent Paula McCoy, who was appointed to the position earlier this year, was elected to fill the unexpired term of Martha Peery. McCoy, a Democrat, received 58 percent of the votes cast, compared to challenger Susan A. Davis, a Republican. The largest percentage of voter turnout was in the Jackson and Sampsel townships voting precinct where half of the registered voters cast ballots. Chillicothe's 3rd Ward saw the smallest percentage of voter turnout with just 23 percent.

Several individuals were running uncontested in Tuesday's election. These included Mike Lair for 7th District state representative, who received 3,443 votes (there were 65 write-in votes); James P. Valbracht for associate circuit judge, who received 3,584 votes (there were 26 write-in votes); and Adam L. Warren for prosecuting attorney, who received 3,443 votes (there were 36 write-in votes).

Voters in Livingston County gave the most votes to Tom Schweich for state auditor (2,782 votes), compared to Sean O'Toole (495 votes), and Rodney Farthing (153 votes), and three write-in names. Voters supported Sam Graves for U.S. Representative in the 6th district, giving him 3,039 votes, compared to W.A. (Bill) Hedge, who received 764 votes, and Russ Monchil, who received 122 votes. There were two write-in candidates for U.S. representative. As for the amendments, 71 percent of the Livingston County voters voted "No" on Amendment 2; 83 percent voted "No" on Amendment 3; 74 percent voted "No" on Amendment 6; 57 percent voted "Yes" on Amendment 10. On the judges ballot measures, Livingston County voters approved with 65 percent of the vote for retaining judges Stith, Wilson, Hardwick and Gabbert.


Douglas Wins Presiding Commissioner Post
Livingston County voters elected Ed Douglas as the county's third-ever presiding commissioner in Tuesday's election. Douglas, a certified financial planner and consultant, won his bid over Billy Peniston, a Livingston County farmer, by capturing 68 percent of the votes cast for presiding commissioner. Douglas, a Republican, received 2,707 votes, compared to Peniston's 1,163 votes, and Libertarian Jeffery Curtis Foli's 120 votes. Douglas will take office January 1, 2015, becoming the county's third presiding commissioner, following Eva Danner Horton, who served for 20 years, and Bill Hoyt, who had served for 34 years. Prior to Hoyt, the term used for what is now presiding commissioner, was "judge." Douglas carried each voting precinct, with the strongest showings being in Chillicothe's 1st and 2nd wards. Douglas said he visited 4,200 homes and 300 businesses during the course of his campaign. The top vote-getters complemented each other on a clean campaign. Peniston, a resident of Sampsel Township, saw his strongest support come from the rural areas, with the highest percentage of votes coming from the precinct of Cream Ridge and Medicine townships where he pocketed 44 percent of the votes.


Parks Retains County Clerk's Position
The race for Livingston County clerk was the closest on Tuesday’s ballot, as incumbent clerk Sherry Parks held onto her post in a challenge by Jennifer Lightner Leach. Leach carried six voting precincts and tied with Parks on one; however, the wins weren't large enough to take the position from Parks. Strong wins in Chillicothe's 1st and 4th wards and in the voting precinct of Jackson and Sampsel townships, coupled with a 134 vote lead in absentees votes, helped push Parks to the top. Leach carried six of the voting precincts with her strongest support coming from Chillicothe's 2nd Ward (57 percent) and the voting precinct of Blue Mound and Monroe townships (57 percent).


Incumbent Retains of Recorder's Post
Kelly Christopher, who has served in a county-wide elected position for 24 years, was re-elected to her second term as Livingston County recorder of deeds. Prior to her first term as recorder, Christopher had served as county clerk for five terms. Christopher, a Democrat, won over challenger Dowell Kincaid, a Republican, by receiving 56 percent of the votes cast for county clerk. She carried all but one voting precinct - that being Ward 2, where Kincaid received 53 percent of the votes cast. Kincaid had a fairly strong showing in his home precinct, where he received 355 votes in Ward 1, compared to Christopher's 398 votes. In the voting precinct of Blue Mound and Monroe townships, Christopher received 105 votes to Kincaid's 100 votes. In all, Christopher pocketed 2,233 votes and Kincaid received 1,726 votes.


McCoy Wins Bid for Collector-Treasurer
Paula McCoy, who was appointed Livingston County collector-treasurer earlier this year, was elected Tuesday to complete the unexpired term of Martha Peery. She received 58 percent of the votes cast for the position. McCoy, who has worked in the collector-treasurer's office for eight years, won over Susan A. Davis, who has worked at the courthouse since 1998 and currently serves as a deputy clerk in the Livingston County circuit clerk's office. McCoy will serve until March 31, 2017. The next election for the full term will be in November 2016. McCoy carried all but two voting precincts, with her strongest showing in Chillicothe's 1st Ward and the Jackson and Sampsel townships where she received 61 percent of the votes cast. In all, McCoy received 2,281 votes and Davis received 1,666 votes. Davis' strongest voter percentage was in Blue Mound and Monroe townships, where she pocketed 55 percent of the votes cast.

Presiding Commissioner: Douglas 2707 Peniston 1163 Foli 120
County Clerk: Parks 2133 Leach 1849
Recorder of Deeds: Christopher 2233 Kincaid 1726
Collector-Treasurer: McCoy 2281 Davis 1666

Amendment 2 (Allow Records): 2679 yes 1078 no
Amendment 3 (Teacher Evaluations): 649 yes 3260 no
Amendment 6 (Early Voting): 952 yes 2744 no
Amendment 10 (Governor Authority): 2071 yes 1536 no

Lair, Douglas Get Party Nods
Catherine Stortz Ripley
August 6, 2014

Missouri State Rep. Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe) eked out a win over challenger Dennis McDonald, of Galt, in Tuesday's Republican primary election. Despite vote deficits in Grundy and Linn counties, Lair's strong Livingston County support carried him through to secure a fourth term. Lair pocketed a total of 2,824 votes, compared to McDonald's 2,642 votes, capturing 51.7 percent of the votes cast for that office. Grundy County voters strongly supported their hometown boy, McDonald, with 1,219 votes, compared to Lair's 792 votes. In Linn County, McDonald secured 611 votes, compared to Lair's 571 votes. Despite the numbers in these two counties, Livingston County came out strong in favor of Lair, giving him 1,461 votes, compared to McDonald's 872 votes. "We figured we would be strong in Livingston County and Livingston County came through," Lair said, shortly after learning of his win. "The anticipation was for this kind of a dog fight. We know each other really well, running on the same ticket... it's going to be tough. It went right down to the wire." "I am extremely pleased, because our efforts in Livingston County were to get people out and get them to take a Republican ballot." Lair carried each voting precinct in Livingston County, with his strongest support coming from Chillicothe's 1st Ward, where 69 percent of the votes gave him the nod. He captured the least amount of support in Green and Mooresville Township, where he captured just 55 percent of the votes cast. Lair is unopposed in November's general election.

CT Photo Catherine Stortz Ripley

Douglas Advances to General Election - The Republican primary ticket saw a contest between Ed Douglas and Michael N. Poindexter, both vying for the open seat of Livingston County presiding commissioner. Douglas pocketed 1,555 votes, compared to Poindexter's 705 votes, translating to 69 percent of the votes cast. Douglas carried all but one voting precinct, with his strongest support coming from Chillicothe's 1st Ward, capturing 76 percent of the cast. Poindexter's largest support came from the voting precinct of Fairview and Grand River townships, where he pocketed 55 percent of the votes cast. "I am really pleased that the people seemed to support me," Douglas stated following the posting of returns at the courthouse Tuesday evening. Douglas said his experience with finance, the highway commission and leadership positions would be beneficial in the office of presiding commissioner. "That's one reason I was extremely interested in it," he said. "Excited about that and hope for the opportunity to do that." Douglas congratulated his opponent. "He ran a very clean campaign," he said of Poindexter. "I really admire someone that age who wants to serve and wants to be in politics." Having won the Republican nod, Douglas will now advance to the general election, where he will face Democrat Billy Peniston and Libertarian Jeffery Curtis Foli. The candidate capturing the most votes in November will be elected presiding commission, filling a vacancy that will be left by Eva Danner Horton, who chose not to seek re-election.

Other Local Contests - Three townships had committee races on the Democrat ticket. For the 1st Ward committeeman, Ken Lauhoff won by one vote, receiving 33 votes, compared to Gordon Smith's 32 votes. For Jackson Township committeeman, Todd Rodenberg won with 21 votes, compared to Bill Christison's 9 votes. For Jackson Township Committeewoman, Kelly Christoper won with 23 votes, compared to Dixie Christison's 9 votes. Most voters chose Republican ballots because the biggest local contests were on the Republican ticket. Of all the ballots cast, 2,321 were Republican, 463 were Democrat, 8 were Libertarian, 7 were Constitutional, and 26 were non-partisan.

The following results are listed by party: Democrat U.S. Representative (6th District) - W.A. (Bill) Hedge, 145; Edward Dwayne Fields, 92; Gary Lynn Crose, 96. Presiding Commissioner of Livingston County - Billy Peniston, 358 votes; Clerk of the Circuit Court - Brenda Wright, 404; Clerk of the County Commission - Sherry Parks, 412; Recorder of Deeds - Kelly Christopher, 423; Republican State Auditor - Tom Schweich, 1,491; U.S. Representative (6th District) - Kyle Reid, 94; Brian L. Tharp, 83; Sam Graves, 1,780; Christopher Ryan, 178; (Graves won the overall district nod with 77 percent of the votes cast). Clerk of the County Commission - Jennifer Lightner Leach, 1,680; Recorder of Deeds - Dowell Kincaid, 1,683; Prosecuting Attorney - Adam L. Warren, 1,880. Libertarian State Auditor - Sean O'Toole, 8; U.S. Representative (6th District) - Russ Monchil, 8; Presiding County Commissioner - Jeff Foli, 7. Constitution State Auditor - Rodney Farthing, 1.

Constitutional Amendments - Five Constitutional amendments appeared on Tuesday's ballot. Amendment 1 (right to farm) - Livingston County voters passed this measure with 62 percent of the votes cast. This measure passed statewide. Amendment 5 (right to arms) - Livingston County voters approved this measure with nearly 74 percent. This measure passed statewide. Amendment 7 (transportation tax) - Livingston County voters approved this measure with 51 percent. This measure failed statewide. Amendment 8 (veterans lottery) - Livingston County voters defeated this measure by just 20 votes (50.37 percent). This measure failed statewide. Amendment 9 (right to e-privacy) - Livingston County voters approved this measure with 76 percent. This measure passed statewide.

Amendment 1, the right to farm amendment, passed in Livingston County with 62 percent of the votes cast. In Livingston County, the measure found its strongest support in the voting precinct of Cream Ridge and Medicine Creek townships, with 81 percent support. The lowest support came from Chillicothe's 1st Ward, with just 52 percent approval. The unofficial tally from Tuesday's election showed that Amendment 1 carried by a margin of 0.2 percent statewide. The amendment declares farming a right. It is part of an effort to fortify the ag industry against animal-welfare activists and opponents of genetically modified crops, who fear the amendment will be used by corporate farms to escape unwanted regulations, according to the Associated Press.

County Sees 11 Percent voter Turnout Tuesday
April 9, 2014

CAPTION: Local residents stand in the lobby of the Livingston County Courthouse waiting for election results to be posted Tuesday evening. Among them were Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education president Robin Westphal (far left), R-2 board incumbents Jason Bone and Michael Leamer, and board member Paul Thomas.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

A mere 11 percent of Livingston County's registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election, with the biggest interest being in two boards of education races in Chillicothe and Livingston County R-1 and two township road district issues.

Sampsel and Cream Ridge townships both proposed and successfully passed additional 35-cent levy increases for their road districts. Sampsel's measure passed with 22 Yes votes and five No votes. Cream Ridge's proposal passed with 37 Yes votes and 10 No votes.

Several other municipalities conducted elections:

  • City of Chula: John Graves, the lone candidate, was elected for mayor with a vote of 9-1, with the single vote being a write-in candidate. Lonnie Breeden was elected 3-0 for South Ward alderman, and Benny Simpson was elected with a 6-1 vote for North Ward alderman. The single vote was for a write-in candidate.
  • In Wheeling, Denise Wayman, the only candidate, was elected city clerk with a vote of 18-1, with the one vote being a write-in candidate. Don Smiley was elected with nine votes for the position of East Ward councilman, and Brenda Warner was elected to the West Ward with eight votes. Each position had one write-in candidate.
  • In the Town of Ludlow, voters elected to the town board Tim Hein, with 13 votes, John Goucher, with 14 votes, and Robert Purdy with 10 votes. There were four write-in votes.
  • In the Village of Mooresville, voters elected to the council Kathy Ellis (17 votes), Floyd Thomas (17 votes), Brenda Wever (21 votes), Larry Wohlgemuth (20 votes) and Brandon Wolf (20 votes).
  • In the Village of Utica, voters elected Doug Reith (19 votes) and Jana Shira (24 votes) to the board of trustees.

Posted Apr. 8, 2014

C-T Photo/ Courtnie Cranmer

Bev and Bill Maupin verify their voter registration status at the 1st Ward voting precinct before casting ballots in today's municipal election. The Maupins were two of around 50 voters who had cast ballots by 10 a.m. today at United Methodist Church.

With just two township road district issues and one race - that for Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education - a light voter turnout was expected throughout Livingston County.

County Clerk Sherry Parks estimated fewer than 20 percent of the county's registered voters would cast ballots in the election.

Filing for County Offices
March 27, 2014

Two people filed their candidacies for countywide offices today (Monday). Those filing were Susan A. Davis, a Republican for county collector-treasurer; and Dowell Kincaid, a Republican for recorder of deeds.

The Livingston County Republican Central Committee chose Davis, 902 Fairlane, as its candidate for the Nov. 4, 2014, general election for the office of Livingston County collector-treasurer. She will face a Democrat nominee who has yet to be announced by the Livingston County Democrat Central Committee.

The current term of the collector-treasurer expires March 31, 2017. However, because current officeholder Martha Perry is retiring effective April 1, 2014, an election must be held to fill her unexpired term. Based on the timing of the vacancy, according to state statutes, there will not be a primary election; however, state statutes require there to be a general election, according to County Clerk Sherry Parks.

The Livingston County Democrat Central Committee was scheduled to meet 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the Strand Hotel Grand Room, 716 Clay Street, to consider applicants for nomination as the Democratic candidate for collector-treasurer. A Democrat nominee must file no later than July 18 to be listed on the November ballot. However, Paula McCoy took the oath of office for the position of Livingston County Collector-Treasurer on Thursday, April 3, 2014 after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed McCoy to the position on Tuesday, following the retirement/resignation of Martha Peery. The winner of the November election will take office April 1, 2015 and serve through March 31, 2017.

Dowell Kincaid, 1719 Fair Street, will challenge Democrat incumbent Recorder of Deeds Kelly Christopher, who filed for re-election.

In other filings today, Jack Kelly, 203 Calhoun, filed his candidacy for 3rd Ward Democrat Committeeman. The candidate filing period closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, 2014.


Livingston County Presiding Commissioner - Ed Douglas and Michael Poindexter, Republicans; Billy Peniston, Democrat; Jeff Foli, Libertarian

County Clerk - incumbent Sherry Parks, Democrat; Jennifer Lightner Leach, Republican

Recorder of Deeds - incumbent Kelly Christopher (D); Dowell Kincaid (R)

1st Ward Democrat Committeeman - incumbent Ken Lauhoff; Gordon Smith

Other candidates who have filed for countywide offices are: Incumbent Associate Circuit Judge James P. Valbracht (R), Incumbent Circuit Clerk Brenda Wright (D), and Incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Adam L. Warren (R).


C-T, February 25, 2014

CAPTION: Candidates gather at the Livingston County clerk's office to file their candidacies for county offices at 8 a.m. today (Tuesday), the opening day for candidate filing. All incumbents, except for Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner, filed for re-election. The day also saw a contest emerge between Incumbent County Clerk Sherry Parks and challenger Jennifer Lightner Leach. Incumbent Associate Circuit Judge James P. Valbracht, and Incumbent County Clerk Sherry Parks complete their paperwork, while others wait behind them: from left, Ed Douglas (candidate for presiding commissioner), Incumbent Circuit Clerk Brenda Wright, Incumbent Recorder of Deeds Kelly Christopher, and Jennifer Lightner Leach, a candidate for county clerk.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Candidate filing for county offices opened at 8 a.m. today (Tuesday) in the clerk's office of the Livingston County Courthouse with a race developing between Republican Jennifer Lightner Leach, who is challenging Democrat incumbent Sherry Parks for the office of county clerk. Parks, 49, is completing her first term as county clerk, having been elected in 2010. She had worked as a deputy in the clerk's office for 13 years. "I find this position fulfilling, challenging and difficult at times, but I love what I do and enjoy working for the public," Parks said. "I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve the public. I have worked in this office for 17 years, and I would like to continue to serve the public in this capacity." Parks resides at 122 Crescent Drive.

Leach, 39, is currently employed as administrative manager at Westlake's Ace Hardware. She said she was seeking the position to "make positive changes in the clerk's office." "I want to serve the citizens and employees of the county promptly and effectively in a friendly and efficient manner," Leach said. Leach resides at 16567 LIV 228.

A new face to county politics is that of Ed Douglas, who filed his candidacy on the Republican ticket for Livingston County presiding commissioner. The position is currently occupied by Eva Danner Horton, who announced she would not seek re-election, after having served 20 years. Douglas, 61, is a certified financial planner and bank consultant. He is chairman emeritus of Citizens Bancshares. He has been on numerous committees and served a six-year term as a Missouri Highways and Transportation commissioner during the 1990s. He said the work of the presiding commissioner, which includes budgets, bridges and emergency preparedness, are topics that interest him. "I am excited about the challenge," he said. Douglas resides at 2109 Oak Lawn Drive.

Other candidates filing for office at 8 a.m. today were:

  • Incumbent Associate Circuit Judge James P. Valbracht (Republican, 1513 Vine Street in Chillicothe), 60, completing his first four-year term;
  • Incumbent Circuit Clerk Brenda Wright (Democrat, 12705 LIV 224 in rural Chillicothe), 57, who has served as circuit clerk since 1999.
  • Incumbent Recorder of Deeds Kelly Christopher (Democrat, 10128 LIV 529 in rural Chillicothe), 48, who is completing her first term as recorder of deeds.
  • Adam L. Warren, incumbent prosecuting attorney, filed his candidacy for re-election later Tuesday morning. Warren, 34, is a Republican. He resides at 711 Washington Street.
  • Seventh District State Rep. Mike Lair filed for re-election at 8:22 a.m. today (Tuesday) in Jefferson City. He filed on the Republican ticket. Lair was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008 and subsequently re-elected in 2010 and 2012. The 7th district includes Grundy, Linn and Livingston counties.

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Livingston County Courthouse
700 Webster Street
Chillicothe, MO 64601