JOPLIN, Mo. — A longtime Joplin businessman is joining the race for county elected office.

Gene Mense III has filed as a Republican candidate for Jasper County Auditor. He’s a lifelong county resident who graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a degree in accounting.

He’s also served as the outside auditor for several county offices — and is licensed in Missouri and Kansas.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve expressed that interest to a number of people over the years. And this is my first opportunity to have the opportunity to run for this office,” said Mense.

Voters will choose between Mense and current county auditor Sarah Hoover in the primary election on August 2nd.