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Two Democrats eye vacant county commissioner seat

News update and explanation of how a vacant political seat may be filled / 464 words / The Columbia Missourian 

COLUMBIA, MO. — So far, two Democrats have put their names in the hat to replace former Presiding County Commissioner Ed Robb, who died suddenly Saturday night.

Scott Christianson and Don Stamper have both expressed interest in the position, according to Phyllis Fugit, chair of the Boone County Democratic Party Central Committee. Bruce Cornett, Fugit’s counterpart in the Republican Party Central Committee, said no one has come forward as a GOP nominee.

Christianson narrowly lost the election for Presiding County Commissioner to Ed Robb last November. Owner of Kaleidoscope Videoconferencing and adjunct instructor of business at MU, Christianson’s political background includes terms as chair and vice-chair of the Democratic Party Central Committee. He is also former president and currently a member of the Boone County Industrial Development Authority.

Stamper, in his bid for the seat, is looking to repeat history. He served as Presiding County Commissioner for 12 years through the 1990s. He is now executive director of the Central Missouri Development Council. According to the state’s lobbyist registry, Stamper is registered as an active lobbyist for the Central Missouri Development Council and several other entities, including Boone Quarries, Columbia Redi-Mix and Con-Agg of Missouri. Stamper could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Bondi Wood meant to run against Robb for the seat last fall but was disqualified because of a paperwork mishap. She said she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of positioning herself for the Democratic recommendation. She said she would have to consult with her family and her current employer, the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, where she works as a grant writer, before making that decision. It would also depend on the other nominees in the field.

“I would definitely support Don Stamper,” she said. “He’s experienced; he’s done it before. He’d be an excellent choice.”

While the county’s Democratic and Republican central committees are accepting nominees for their recommendations, securing their endorsement is not a sure bet for the job. The political appointment is ultimately at the discretion of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. He is under no obligation to replace Robb, a Republican, with someone from the same party.

But tradition has it that both parties put forward a candidate to fill any vacancy.

The Democratic Central Committee has made its application available online. Any application should also include a cover letter, according to the committee’s website.

The committee will screen candidates in person at its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 13, in the commission chambers at the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.

The Republican Central Committee said it began accepting applications earlier this week. A special screening committee has been named, and the central committee will accept applications until 5 p.m. Oct. 10. More information is available on the committee’s website.

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