Monday, July 24, 2006
Local lobbyists chip in for Surface
The Joplin Globe's examination of the Jasper County presiding commissioner case Sunday featured an accompanying box with a list of campaign donors for each of the three candidates, incumbent Chuck Surface, Carthage attorney Jim Spradling, and businessman John Bartosh.
Spradling appears to have the Carthage money behind him, as well as the city's artistic community, largely due, I am certain, to the work of former Presiding Commissioner Danny Hensley.
Bartosh is the handpicked candidate of Sheriff Archie Dunn, who has had a number of confrontations with Surface and the Commission.
Surface has reached back into his roots as a former state representative, receiving the maximum $650 from the campaign committee of his successor, Ron Richard, and $500 apiece from local lobbyists Gary Burton and Roy Cagle, both of whom served in the Missouri House.
That combination reminded of the 1998 32nd District Senate campaign pitting incumbent Marvin Singleton against Cagle. I covered a press conference at the Holiday Inn in Joplin in which Surface, Burton, and their fellow state representative T. Mark Elliott, joined with Missouri Right to Life to endorse Cagle's candidacy.
At that point, it appeared that Cagle had the momentum and couldn't be stopped. That was early in the campaign and I never heard from Cagle again. Apparently, he thought endorsements from these powerful people and the right-to-life group would be enough to clinch the victory for him. Meanwhile Singleton, using the same approach he used in two previous elections to eke out narrow wins, easily defeated Cagle.
I don't see the same thing happening this time. Surface has been working hard, as have his opponents, but it was just interesting to see that combination again.