ST. LOUIS – 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.