Now that the dust has settled on the year-long 2016 campaigns, a combined $336,165 was spent by the winning and losing candidates for Franklin County political offices.

In what was easily the most expensive campaign season in history, two races surpassed the $100,000 mark and several others were in the tens of thousands.

Arguably the highest profile races were for sheriff and circuit judge.


Although this race was basically decided in the primary on Aug. 2, sheriff’s department lieutenants Jason Grellner and Steve Pelton were two of the first to form campaign committees and the pair also spent the most on their campaigns.

Both men set up campaign committees and began raising funds as early as October 2015.

A third challenger in the Republican primary, Danny Page, entered the race later and spent only a fraction of the two front-runners

When all was said and done, the three candidates spent a combined $129,470 in their quest to fill the chair of retiring Sheriff Gary Toelke.

Pelton, who spent $72,227 on his campaign, came out victorious and will be sworn in as sheriff on Dec. 31.

Grellner’s total was about $20,000 less and came to $52,888.

Page rounded out the primary spending at just $4,355.

Associate Judge

Ike Lamke and David Hoven, who were vying for a circuit judge position, were not too far behind the sheriff candidates, spending a combined $112,180 on their campaigns.

The Republican incumbent, Lamke, spent $58,439 on his victorious campaign.

His Democratic opponent, David Hoven spent about $5,000 less, a total of $53,741.

First District

In what became a surprisingly expensive campaign, reaching $49,103, the race for First District county commissioner saw incumbent Tim Brinker face a challenger in the Republican primary and a Constitution Party candidate in the November general election.

The biggest spender in the race was Robertsville businessman Tim Baker, who laid out $36,574 in his unsuccessful primary challenge.

Brinker, who concentrated all of his spending to the primary race, spent $12,411 during his successful re-election bid.

Constitution Party candidate and political newcomer, Eric Reichert, Villa Ridge, spent only $118 on his campaign.

Second District

The seat to represent the northern half of Franklin County was sought after by three candidates whose combined spending reached $30,615.

Republican challengers Dave Hinson and Jeff Thurmond, both of St. Clair, went head to head in the August primary, with Thurmond spending $6,860.

Hinson, who defeated Thurmond in the primary and then faced incumbent Democrat Jeff Maune, Union, in the general election, spent $9,484 on his campaign.

Maune, who was appointed to an unexpired term, spent $14,271 on his unsuccessful campaign.

Hinson, a former state representative, will be sworn in on Jan. 4, due to a few lingering state office formalities.


In addition to the more expensive campaigns, the race for county assessor also was decided in the August primary and cost a combined $7,850.

Despite being outspent nearly 2-to-1, incumbent Tom Copeland was victorious and spent $2,550 on his re-election.

His challenger, Rebecca Wideman-Kissinger, spent $5,300 on her unsuccessful bid.

Public Administrator

After running unopposed in the primary, Mary Jo Straatmann, who will be the lone Democrat serving in county government, spent $6,947 on her successful re-election bid.

Her challenger, perennial candidate Gary Getman, did not file any financial disclosures with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Sworn In

All of the newly elected and re-elected county officials, other than Hinson and Pelton, will be sworn into office by County Clerk Debbie Door on Friday, Dec. 30, at 10 a.m. in the county commission chambers.