Second attorney to seek county position

Another candidate has emerged in the unexpected race for Webster County attorney.

Joseph McCarville, an attorney with the Webster County public defender’s office, announced Wednesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the office.

In so doing, he will face Jennifer Benson, who has served as first assistant Webster County attorney since June 2013.

Benson declared her candidacy on Saturday – the same day Webster County Attorney Cori Kuhn Coleman unexpectedly announced that she will withdraw her name from the November ballot.

That decision will require the Webster County Democratic Party to reconvene its convention to nominate a candidate.

The convention will reconvene on June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at a yet-to-be-determined location, said Webster County Democratic Party chair Julie Geopfert.

Only the approximately 30 people who participated in the convention on March 8 will be eligible to vote on June 30,

Whichever candidate receives a simple majority of delegate votes will be the party’s nominee, Geopfert said.

In announcing his candidacy, McCarville, of Fort Dodge, highlighted his years of legal experience and “good working relationship” with the Fort Dodge Police Department, Webster County Sheriff’s Department, Webster County Board of Supervisors and the county attorney’s office staff.

“I want to bring my advocacy skills to the county attorney’s office,” he said.

A native of Webster County, McCarville has worked in the public defender’s office since 2000.

As county attorney, McCarville would return to the office in which he began his legal career in 1989 under then-Webster County Attorney Jim Koll.

After one year as an assistant county attorney, McCarville spent the 1990s in private practice, before joining his former boss in the public defender’s office.

This marks McCarville’s second attempt to seek public office. He ran for a seat on the Fort Dodge City Council in the ’90s, he said.

Whoever prevails in the Democratic convention will be, as yet, unopposed for election in November.

However, Jamie Johnson, chairman of the Webster County Republican Party, told The Messenger Monday that his party also hopes to nominate a candidate for the office and would reconvene its convention should a person seriously interested in running come forth.