4 PLUS MORE?
At least four Republicans are actively exploring bids to replace Rep. Dennis Wood, who was appointed Stone County's Presiding Commissioner Wednesday.
"Today's just the first day," quipped Layne Morrill, GOP chair of the 62nd House District, which covers parts of Taney and Stone counties. "Let's see how many get in the pot."
Morrill tells The Notebook that three potential candidates have spoken to him directly about the special election for the House. Another, Jeff Justus, told The Notebook Wednesday he's confident he'll run for Wood's old seat.
Nita Jane Ayres, vice chair of 62nd, said she's going to take the next week to "seek advice and counsel about future electability." "I think a number of people are going to be expressing interest and I do happen to be one of them," Ayres said. "I have a lot of passion to serve, and I just have to evaluate what makes the most sense."
Ayres was the Stone County GOP Central Committee's recommendation for Presiding Commissioner. But Governor Jay Nixon appointed Wood to the position.
"There is a level of disappointment," Ayres said. "But it is what it is, and you pick yourself up and say, ok, what are the other opportunities available for me?"
Former Reeds Spring school board member Jeff Sims also said he's moving forward with his candidacy for the seat. "I don't think, I know," he said, when asked about his intentions.
Sims, a retired farmer, also serves on the Planning and Zoning and Water Boards. "At least, I'll throw my had in, we'll see how it turns out," Sims said.
Stone County GOP Chair Tom Martin is also considering a campaign, according to Morrill. Martin is a Kimberling City insurance agent and the Stone County Emergency Management director.
When asked how many other Republican candidates could be contemplating a bid for Wood's old seat, Morrill responded, "How long is your legal pad?"
Democrat Peter Tsahiridis, who unsuccessfully ran against Wood in 2008, said he would not be running in the special election.
That election to replace Wood will occur on February 2, 2010.