Five candidates vying for circuit clerk job in Knox County

Posted: Aug. 2, 2014 11:25 pm Updated: Aug. 24, 2014 12:15 am

By ALYSE THOMPSONHerald-Whig Staff Writer

EDINA, Mo. -- Knox County voters will have several decision to make in Tuesday's primary election.

Five candidates are vying to become Knox County circuit clerk after a longtime officeholder exits later this year.

Circuit Clerk James Gibbons will retire at the end of his term after 32 years. He said he's enjoyed working with judges and colleagues, but at 69 years old, he believes the time is right to pass the torch.

"I feel very fortunate the people of Knox County voted me in for eight terms," he said.

Five people hoping to succeed him are running in Tuesday's primary election.

Deputy Circuit Clerk Roma March is one of them. She has served in the Knox County court system since 1984, becoming deputy circuit clerk in 1996. She said her main responsibilities include filing court rulings and orders and working with judges, among others. March, a Democrat, has lived in the county for 37 years.

"I have a lot of experience to offer the community, and that's why I'm hoping people will vote for me," she said.

Karie Jo Holman also is seeking the Democratic nomination. She is the secretary for the Knox County prosecutor's office and works within the Fortney Law Office. Holman acknowledged she would have some learning to do, but the Knox County native said she is ready to take the next step in her career while also serving the community.

"I like to give back to the people here, because they are so good to help others," she said.

Edina Police Chief Kelly Hayes, also a Democrat, said his law enforcement background would help him in the position. He joined the Edina Police Department in 1999, and said he's ready to spend more time with his six kids. He, too, wants to give back to the community in which he was born and raised.

"I'm hardworking and truly dedicated to this county," he said.

Shelly Bugh has worked in law offices for 30 years and said her knowledge of filing and court systems will be a help her do the clerk's job.

Audrey Hamlin is the sole Republican candidate. She works as an account manager for the American Red Cross but previously worked as an insurance agent for Hawkins Insurance Group for 29 years. While she said she'd have a lot to learn, Hamlin added her office experience and working with the public would help her in the role.

"It will be an exciting challenge," she said.

Other local races are also contested or are setting up November showdowns.

Incumbent associate circuit judge Tom Redington -- a Democrat who has held the office since his appointment in January -- faces opposition from Tom Hensley for the party nomination. Prosecuting Attorney David M. Brown is seeking the Republican nomination for associate circuit judge. Since Brown is not pursuing re-election as prosecutor, Democrat Joy Pinson Ahern and Republican Jo Fortney are running for that office.

Evan Glasgow, a Republican, is seeking re-election as presiding commissioner. He will be challenged in November by Eastern District Commissioner and Democrat Terry "Red" Callahan.

A use tax on out-of-state purchases that exceed $2,000 per year also is on the ballot. It is meant to eliminate the sales tax advantage that non-Missouri vendors have over Missouri vendors and has provisions that would reduce or raise the use tax if the local sales tax rate is changed by voters.