11:26 PM

Candidates Sharon Walles and Mark Maples watch election returns at their watch party at JRaes in Hurley

Voters in Stone County turned out in droves on Tuesday and elected a new sheriff and returned three incumbents to office.

Doug Rader defeated Sheriff Richard Hill, who has been in office since 1977, by a two to one margin. In unofficial returns, Rader garnered 5,132 votes to Hill's 2,508 votes.

This was Rader’s, who is the police chief in Branson West, first bid for sheriff. He was previously the director of operations for the Northeast Missouri Drug Task Force prior to joining the Branson West PD eight years ago. He has a total of 22 years of law enforcement experience.

"I'm very humbled and honored that the people of Stone County have chose me as their next Sheriff," said Rader. "I will work very diligently to make them proud to have me as their sheriff."

Voters said they liked the job that Public Administrator Wendy Metcalf is doing and kept her in office. Metcalf collected 3,914 votes, compared to the 2932 of her opponent, Sharon Walles. "I admire Wendy and the job she does and wish her well," said Walles.

But the race for Southern Commissioner could be decided by just 20 votes. According to the unofficial results, incumbent Jerry Dodd took 1,907 votes, to the 1887 cast for challenger Hank Smythe. It was unclear at press time if Smythe would ask for a recount. Dodd said "I look forward to serving the residents and visitors of southern Stone County and look forward to another four years to do so." Smythe said he was disappointed, but would do whatever he could to better the county.

In addition, Mark Maples, a newcomer to the political arena, handily defeated his challengers to win the primary for Northern Commissioner. Maples will now take on Jim Huy (I), who was appointed Northern Commissioner by Governor Jay Nixon, in the November general election.

Maples garnered 1,307 votes for the win. Robert Stone took 833, Larry Scobee received 717 and Tim Stowe 682. "I want to say thank you," said Maples. "I was wondering today if I had done enough. Please remember that I need your vote again in November."

I wish Mark Maples all the best and will support him in any way I can. Ultimately, I'm very grateful to the Lord for his inspiration, love and grace. I'd like to thank my wife and children for their faithful support," said Stone.

Voters also returned Rick Kemp to the office of County Surveyor. Kemp gathered 2,510 votes. His opponents, John Read and Eddie D. Wolfe garnered 2,428 and 1,713, respectively.

Stone County Clerk Judy Berkstresser said nearly 37 percent of registered voters went to the polls. One precinct in Crane ran out of paper ballots and had to revert to using an electronic touch screen, according to Berkstresser. Additional ballots were taken to the Lincoln precinct in Elsey and one in Kimberling City.