Tom Copeland

Tom Copeland

The start of the new year means Election Day is just 11 months away.

Incumbent Franklin County Assessor Tom Copeland has confirmed he will not seek re-election in November.

Copeland, 73, said he will finish out his term and will retire after first being elected as assessor in 2008.

Copeland said he will put his support behind his current office employee Dawn Mentz, R-Leslie, who has established a campaign committee to run for the office.

In addition to assessor, the county offices of sheriff, county municipal judge, treasurer and public administrator also will be on the ballot.

Both the First and Second District county commissioner seats will be up for grabs as well.


Filing for these races will begin Feb. 25,and be open until March 31.

On the first day of filing, candidates will be given a random number that will determine the placement of their names on the ballots.

Primaries for both parties will be held Aug. 4, and several candidates have already declared they will be running.

According to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), all but one elected Franklin County official — Treasurer Debbie Aholt — has established campaign committees and most have some funds in their campaign accounts.

In Republican-dominated Franklin County, most county and even state races are decided in the party primary, when members of the same party go head to head and usually the incumbent has advantages in both experience and money.


The position of the top law enforcement office in the county is again up for grabs in 2020 and 11 months out, there are no challengers to incumbent Steve Pelton.

The MEC reports Pelton has not only declared he will run for re-election, but he currently has more money — $20,284 — in his campaign coffers, more than most other candidates from Franklin County combined.

This will be Pelton’s first re-election bid. In 2016, he competed in one of the most expensive races in county history, spending $72,227 on his campaign.

His opponent’s spending was about $20,000 less and came to $52,888.

Second District

Two of the three seats on the county commission will be up for re-election in 2020 as well.

Incumbent Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson will vie for his first re-election to the seat he originally won in 2016.

Hinson defeated former highway department supervisor Jeff Thurmond in the primary and went on to unseat incumbent Democrat Jeff Maune in the November general election, spending $9,484 on his campaign.

Hinson currently has $409 in his campaign account.

First District

First District Commissioner Todd Boland will face his first county election bid after being appointed to the seat in August 2018 by Gov. Mike Parson when Tim Brinker became presiding commissioner. Boland was appointed to the vacant seat after he won the primary election.

Boland, who previously served on the county planning and zoning board and Washington city council, has established a campaign committee.

In October, he filed a limited activity financial report with the MEC.

County Offices

The offices of public administrator and treasurer also will be contested in 2020.

Incumbent Public Administrator Mary Jo Straatmann has established a committee to run for re-election in the August primary and has $474 in her campaign account. This will be her second re-election bid.

110th District

Every two years, state representatives have to run for re-election in Missouri.

Four individual reps serve the residents of Franklin County in Jefferson City, and all four have campaign committees established and will run in 2020.

Thus far, only one of the four, Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, faces a challenger in the 110th District.

Bailey, the one-term incumbent, has $478 in her account.

If successful in the primary, she will face Democrat John Kiehne, Labadie, in the November general election.

In 2018, Kiehne ran unsuccessfully against State Sen. Dave Schatz for a seat in the 26th Senatorial District.

According to the MEC, Kiehne has $1,665 in his campaign account.

District 110 lies mainly in St. Louis County, but encompasses a sliver of Franklin County, including the city of Pacific.

Other Representatives

The other three lawmakers representing Franklin County in the Missouri House of Representatives have healthy balances in their campaign accounts with just eight months away from the primaries next summer.

Two-term incumbent State Rep. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, will be running for his third term in the House representing the 116th District. He currently has $15,517 in campaign funds available.

State Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, plans to run for his first re-election in 2020 and has $8,515 at his disposable to retain his 61st District seat.

State Rep. John Simmons, R-Krakow, will attempt to hold on to his 109th District House seat using $6,400 in campaign funds.