Mayor Dies; Gets Re-elected Anyway

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Voters in the small northeastern Missouri town
of Winfield re-elected their mayor for a fourth term on Tuesday,
about a month after his death.

Ballots had already been printed and absentee voting had already
begun when Harry Stonebraker died of a heart attack at age 69 on
March 11. He won easily in Tuesday's general election with 206
votes, or 90 percent. Alderman Bernie Panther got the other 23
votes.

The election recalled Missouri's 2000 U.S. Senate race, when
Democrat Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash just weeks before the
November election, but still defeated incumbent Republican John
Ashcroft. Carnahan's wife, Jean, was eventually appointed to the
Senate seat until a special election in 2002, when she was defeated
by Republican Jim Talent.

Lincoln County Clerk Elaine Luck said she wasn't surprised by
Stonebraker's win, noting was a popular mayor who helped lead the
community of 1,500 through the devastating 2008 flood, when a levee
breach caused by a burrowing muskrat damaged about 100 homes.

"I figured he'd win because he seemed to get even more popular
after he died, just like Carnahan," Luck said.

Luck said aldermen would appoint a mayor to serve until a
special election in April 2010 to pick a mayor for the remainder of
the two-year term.

Stonebraker was a lifelong resident of the Winfield area and a
retired construction superintendent. He had nearly completed his
third two-year term as mayor.

Winfield is about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis.


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