Galloway ballot issue Question 1 signs. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Thoughts and feelings from the November election will carry over in municipal elections in April, at least in the race to be Springfield’s mayor.

Melanie Bach, a leader of the successful opposition to rezoning land for development near Sequiota Park, has taken out papers to run against three-term incumbent Mayor Ken McClure, who backed the development proposal.

More than 70 percent of the 46,616 Springfield voters who cast ballots Nov. 8 voted against Springfield Question 1, a referendum question that would have rezoned 4.2 acres of land in the 3500 block of South Lone Pine Avenue. Developers Mitch and Amanda Jenkins of Elevation Enterprises sought change to a planned development zone, clearing the way for construction of a mixed-use project that would include retail and office spaces and about 100 apartments. The referendum zoning proposal met overwhelming defeat, with 32,862 voters saying, “No.”

A political action committee called Springfield United formed to drum up support for Question 1 leading up to the election, which drew organized opposition from the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association. Mayor McClure was one of several Springfield community leaders who lent his name, image and words to the campaign for “Yes” votes.

The Springfield City Charter allows a mayor to serve a maximum of four two-year terms. McClure is in his third term, and says he has collected the signatures necessary to run for what would be a fourth and final term as mayor.

“I want to be able to assure myself and the community that I’m doing the best possible job that I can to help us continue to grow and invest, and I would feel badly if I walked away from the last two years,” McClure said. “I’m proud of my record, I’m proud of the broad support I’ve had in this community, and I look forward to that continuing.”

Fresh off a victory in November, Bach, who is president of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, picked up the packet needed to petition to file to run for mayor.

“Neighborhoods are in a situation where they’re getting better engagement, so it’s a good time to just focus on community and do what we can to get the quality of life for Springfieldians back up to what it used to be,” Bach said.

Bach is experienced in gathering signatures for petitions, as evidenced by the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association’s legal battles with the city and with Elevation Enterprises.

Bach holds a part-time job with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, a job she would have to vacate in order to run for office. There is a chance that could affect whether or not Bach files before the deadline.

Bach, McClure, and 10 other municipal office candidates have until Jan. 17 to file their petitions with Springfield City Clerk Anita Cotter’s office. Debra J. Rose picked up packets to run for both mayor and for a seat representing Zone 2, or northeastern Springfield, on the City Council.

The petition process is underway for the mayor’s office and five Springfield City Council seats. People who want to be mayor of Springfield, including incumbent McClure, must collect valid signatures from 200 registered voters who reside within the city limits. The same requirement holds true for candidates running for two general council seats. Zone council member candidates must collect 100 signatures from voters who reside within their particular zone of representation. Three of Springfield’s four council zones have elections coming up April 4.

Petition takers

As of Nov. 22, the following persons picked up the petition packets necessary to file to run for municipal office in Springfield in the April 2023 election. An official list of candidates will not be available until the filing period expires and the Springfield city clerk certifies petitions as valid. Petitions must be returned no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 17, 2023.

Mayor 

  • Ken McClure*
  • Debra J. Rose
  • Melanie Bach

Zone 1 (partial two-year term)

  • Monica Horton*
  • David Eric Jensen

Zone 2

  • Debra J. Rose
  • Abe McGull*

Zone 3

  • David Nokes
  • Brandon Jenson

General Seat C

  • Derek Lee
  • Callie Carroll

General Seat D

  • Richard Ollis*
  • Derek Lee
  • Curtis D. Vaughn

Picking up a packet does not mean the person will eventually file to run for the specified seat.

Incumbents who have not picked up petition packets: Mike Schilling, Zone 3; Andrew Lear, General Seat C.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger