Joel Jeffries withdrew as the Republican candidate for state representative in the 25th District on Tuesday to accept Gov. Bob Holden’s appointment to the Board of Probation and Parole.
“This was a remarkable opportunity that kind of dropped out of the sky,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries will take the seat of Republican Donna White, who resigned. After he takes the oath of office, he will serve the remaining two years of her six-year term. At that point, he can be reappointed by the governor.
Jeffries will be one of three Republicans on the board, which also includes four Democrats.
Although Jeffries said he hadn’t planned on the appointment, he did have growing concerns about the House race.
“The impact on my family this cycle was more significant than last cycle,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries ran in 2002 for 25th District state representative and lost against incumbent Vicky Riback Wilson, who is now finishing her final term. Jeffries ran unopposed as the Republican candidate in this year’s primary.
Jeffries also feared the direction the election was going, saying he wanted a “discourse about issues” not a “discourse about mud.”
“It was very clear to me that I would have to run a negative race,” Jeffries said. “It’s always been difficult for me to do that sort of thing.”
Democratic candidate Judy Baker said that she never planned to run a negative campaign and that Jeffries probably thought he would have to resort to negative campaigning.
“I appreciate the fact he had the integrity to not want to do that,” she said.
Baker said Jeffries’ withdrawal from the race won’t change her strategy. She said her race is about winning the vote of the people, not beating her opponent.
“We’ll march on and let the Republicans figure out what they’re going to do,” Baker said.
Baker heard of Jeffries’ plans Monday afternoon and called to wish him well.
“You have to respect a person who enters a race (for public service),” she said.
Jeffries’ new position on the Board of Probation and Parole will require him to review about 8,300 cases per year and decide the conditions of release for prisoners in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He will earn $75,312 a year, according to the governor’s office.
Most of the cases brought before the board contain “a medical component,” Jeffries said. There are no medical professionals on the board, so Jeffries said he will be able to bring his expertise as a physician to the table.
Jeffries obtained a court order from the Boone County Circuit Court to have his name removed from the ballot, then filed it with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. Because ballots including his name have already been printed, Jeffries will be responsible for the cost of reprinting. Employees of the Boone County Clerk’s Office said they were unable to provide the cost of reprinting because Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren is out of town.
Jeffries plans to return all the money contributed to his campaign since the primary. He will pay the ballot printing cost out of his own pocket.
Representatives of the Boone County Republican Central Committee plan to find a replacement candidate, Jeffries said.