Republican Michael Schatz survived a tight race Tuesday and will represent his political party in November as he seeks to become Franklin County’s next Second District commissioner.
Schatz, 53, defeated four other men in Tuesday’s primary and will face Democrat Teresa Connelly in November. Connelly was unopposed.
“I am thrilled yet very humbled that I received the nomination,” Schatz told The Missourian after the final tally was known. “I am looking forward to the November election and serving the citizens of the Second District as well as all of Franklin County.
“After a few days rest from the primary I will be ready to start the next campaign for the November election. Teresa and I have spoken, and I think you will see the same type of mutual respect in this race that was shown in the primary.”
The winner will replace current Second District Commissioner Ann Schroeder, who opted not to seek re-election and instead is running for a seat as a state representative in the 109th District. Both Schroeder, a Democrat, and Paul Curtman, a Republican, were unopposed Tuesday and will square off for the Missouri House seat on Nov. 6.
“I am a working-class individual, from a working class family,” Schatz said about why he thinks he came out on top Tuesday. “I think the people want someone who is just like them. I think they are tired of career politicians at all levels who tout ‘common sense’ during the campaign and deliver something else when in office.”
Schatz, of Sullivan, a lieutenant and 31-year veteran with the Franklin County’s Sheriff’s Office, picked up 27.67 percent of the vote to outdistance his four opponents — Gary Young of Union, Jerry Landing of Sullivan, Ted Diez of Union and Mark Falloon of Sullivan. Young ended up with 22.8 percent of the vote, Landing received 20.44 percent, Diez got 19.51 percent and Falloon had 9.58 percent.
As far as the number of votes cast, Schatz picked up 1,580 in the 28 precincts that make up the second district. Young received 1,302, Landing finished with 1,167, Diez tallied 1,114 and Falloon got 547. In all, there were 5,710 ballots turned in.
“I heard voter turnout may be low and wasn’t quite sure how that was going to effect the split,” Schatz said. “But I am very pleased with the results.
“No one during the primary ever expressed any overconfidence. We all did our best, and I think that the close results reflected that”
Voter turnout was 25 percent. Throughout the county, 17,291 votes were cast. There were 68,835 registered voters, according to statistics from the county clerk’s office.
The second district basically represents the southern half of Franklin County and includes St. Clair, Sullivan and Union.
After the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and results started coming in to the Franklin County Clerk’s Office, it appeared to be a three-man race for most of the evening. At times, Schatz was ahead while Young also held the advantage. At other times, Schatz was in third place behind both Young and Landing.
But when the results reached the 50 percent total of the precincts reporting, Schatz was in the lead and stayed there.
“To coin a phrase, ‘It’s not over till it’s over,’ ” Schatz said as far as keeping track on how things were going on Tuesday night after the polls were closed. “I worked at this campaign; I prayed over my decisions and placed the anxiety in God’s hands. My wife, Christina, and I decided to stay home, watch the Olympics and monitor the results of the election. We did exactly that. I knew from the beginning the race was going to be split.”
And when he found out he had captured the Republican nomination?
“I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off me,” Schatz said. “I was excited that the primary was over and was pleased by the results.
“I would like to thank those who supported me through the primary, especially my wife. I want to thank my opponents in the primary for a great race and wish them the best. Most of all I give praise to God and thank Him for all He has done in my life.”
The Next Election
Heading into the November election, Schatz said he will continue to do the same things he did in preparing for the primary as well as continue to prepare himself for the job if he is elected.
“First and foremost I will continue to talk to the public,” he said. “Of those I have spoken to, they have some concerns and want to share them with their representative on the commission. I have also been in contact with the commission, and they are going to ask Tim Brinker (new first district commissioner), myself and Teresa Connelly if we would like to sit in as they prepare the budget for next year. I think that is a great idea and should help to prepare us for the job ahead.