Newsome enters District 4 supervisor race

FD man seeks to challenge incumbent Republican Merrill Leffler, Democratic challenger Niki Conrad

Eugene Newsome

Eugene Melvin Newsome has announced he is running as an independent for District 4 Webster County Supervisor.

Newsome will seek the seat held by Merrill Leffler, a Republican.

Democrat Niki Conrad is also running for the position.

Newsome said he wants the voters to have leadership that speaks out on more issues.

“I’m already with the county on everything they’re doing, but I think a board of supervisors, a person on the board of supervisors, I think it’s more than just a budget,” he said. “I think it’s more than just luring industry.

“There are other areas of leadership you can show.”

For instance, Newsome said he objected to the privatization of Medicaid, a decision made at the state level.

“If I was on the Board of Supervisors, I would have been over to the state capital, telling them, oh no, no, no, no. You can’t do this. You shouldn’t do this,” Newsome said.

“Somebody has to be a voice for people with low economic status, or who feel disenfranchised.”

He’d also like to see a large auditorium built in the area that could host all sorts of groups. This isn’t something the county would pay for, he said, but a supervisor could speak for it.

“I want to be in office so I have a platform to stand on,” he said. “They won’t listen to you unless you are in a position. You have to have a lot of money, or you have to have a position where what you say is going to be news.”

Newsome is retired.

District 4 includes the west and northwest parts of Fort Dodge, precincts 1, 3, 6, and 7.

Newsome said he’s been running for various offices since 1979, starting with the school board.

He has never been elected.

“I’m seeking redemption for the loss in 2000,” Newsome said.

That year, Newsome lost a primary challenge for county supervisor by just a few votes, winning 106 to frontrunner Jill Kirkberg’s 112.

Newsome said eight absentee votes for him were thrown out, and he believes they should have been counted.

In 2002, he ran against Phil Condon for supervisor and lost, 376 votes to 1,268, according to the Webster County Auditor’s office.

Newsome had initially planned to run in the June primary against Conrad, but asked to have his name taken off the ballot for medical reasons.