About 83 percent of Greene County voters decided not to go to the polls on Tuesday.
Those who did turn out did nothing unexpected -- unless you were among the anti-parks forces who really thought talk radio naysaying would do the trick. Greene County's parks tax passed, 58-42 (we thought it would be closer, 53-47).
Comparing other pre-election predictions in contested races to the real thing:
•We thought Rep. Jim Viebrock would be in trouble in the 134th. He won with 43 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Trouble. Just not enough to stop him.
•Rep. Charlie Denison beats David Dunn, but the challenger did make the incumbent sweat, 55-45.
•Rep. B.J. Marsh glided to victory in District 136 over Bob Vanaman.
•Dan Scott walked all over Ronald Day to get the GOP nomination in the 137th District. Charlie Norr defeated Rob Brantley and Richard Naperalski in the Democratic primary. No surprises. The district should be a solid for Dems come November, if Norr runs a sharp campaign.
•Steve Helms beats Michael Goodart. That means Helms faces defeat in November when he takes on Rep. Sara Lampe, who ran unopposed in the primary in the 138th.
•We thought Karen Roark might slide past Shane Schoeller in the 139th. Wasn't to be. Schoeller wins, 48-37, with Joe Pyles earning 15 percent of the vote. Several readers thought Pyles should have been the guy who won this race, given his moderate views. We concur. Schoeller will face Jamie Schoolcraft, who defeated Arthur Hodge, Sr., in the Democratic primary.
Rep. Roy Blunt won his primary race with close to 80 percent of the vote (that's with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting across the 7th Congressional District). Midge Potts, God bless her, garnered around 7 percent of the vote -- still good enough to bear Bernard Kennetz, Jr. It looks like Jack Truman will be the sacrificial lamb for Democrats in November; he defeated Ron Lapham and Charles Christrup.
Best local bit o' color: Christopher Davis and Jesse Tate tie -- 43-43 -- for Republican Committeeman of the 20th Ward. What is the procedure for breaking a tie?
Statewide, a couple of noteworthy items:
•Ken Hulshof is the current congressman in the 9th District, and word is he'd like to go bigger -- much bigger -- in Republican circles. Maybe governor, maybe U.S. senator, maybe even the White House. He was unopposed in the primary and got 27,558 votes. But his Democratic opponent, Duane Burghard, got 27,534 votes in his primary. This race will be a smoker.
•Missouri voters gave a big OK to a continuing tax that generates about $82 million annually "for soil and water conservation efforts and operation of the state park system." Will that progressive tax stance translate to a "yes" vote in November on a minimum-wage measure? Somehow, we doubt it.
•Mark Wright, the Springfield state representative who decided to run for auditor (after flirting with the idea of a primary challenge against Norma Champion for state senate) was buried Tuesday. He had about 14 percent of the vote in a five-way primary race. That was good enough for 4th place, ahead of oddity Al Hanson but behind everyone else. It also came after Wright was declared persona non grata in GOP circles for sharply criticizing Gov. Matt Blunt.
He thought it would prove he was an independent voice. Mark Wright was wrong.
Perhaps the biggest lesson here is that negative campaigning does not pay off ... at least in local elections. I know the political science studies suggest differently but most of that research has not been revised in the last 10 years and I think voters now look at the type of thing very differently. I candidate has to stand for something ... just not stand against their opponent.
In regard to negative campaigning, look at Collins in the 134th ... negative comments put him in a distant 3rd. David Dunn (who went negative) still lost to Dennison. Same could be said for Goodart who lost to Helms. Perhaps this is true for others that I am not as familiar with. These three just really stood out to me. I think the negative aspect played a bigger role than being the incumbent.
I talked to a lot of folks in the 134th and most of them said they were not thrilled with Viebrock as a representative but there was no way they would vote for Collins and many said they didn't know Bilyeu (lack of campaining and a very late start). Collins in fact got fewer votes this time than when he ran four years ago. Being Mayor seems to be causing him to lose ground.
Independent thinking in the state GOP died officially tonight. Cause of death: Switching from being a party of ideas and reform to a cult of personality with all things Blunt at the center of its worship.
"Best local bit o' color: Christopher Davis and Jesse Tate tie -- 43-43 -- for Republican Committeeman of the 20th Ward. What is the procedure for breaking a tie?"
man-o-man. What could possibly inspire anyone to vote for Christopher Davis. Then again, maybe the Republican party will get what it deserves.
Negative campaigning did hurt candidates. Dennison was "easy pickins' and the negative campaiging was very stale. Same happened in the 134th. Voters want to hear facts about candidates, not the personal vendettas. Real question--how did Jack Merritt get away with playing politics with Roarke's opponent? Isn't he a little shady too?
The saddest result to this Democrat is Bilyeu's loss. He would have been a true statesman and a great rep
Ron, loved your analagies on Mark Wright's campaign; "sleeps with the fishes," "Luca Brasi," "beyond toast, now in powdered toast land." They fit perfectly.
Now hopefully someone in the media will ask him if his employment at a nursing home has anything to do with his opposition to fighting Medicaid provider fraud and how (or what he plans to do) to pay off the $50,000 loan he got for his campaign.
Great races last night. But is it negative campaigning if everything that was said about Denison was true? I got a mailer from Dunn with footnotes. I researched the information and they all were true. I seems that Denison has problems with the truth (Said MSU, OTC Springfield Public Schools, and University of Missouri supported him when none can or did). I am not upset about the outcomes but worried about some of the people that are the representatives. We need better canidates in the 134, 135, 137. I dont want to see Democrats take those seats and want better people representing us in Jefferson City (not themselves). In 2 of those seats we have a mechanic and a used car salesman. I dont mind the professions but I dont believe they were good at what they did before politics!
Mark Wright is a boob. How could he be anything but wrong?
Can anyone point to anything good that he ever did as a legislator?
Anonymous at 11:14 - I can't speak for everyone in my district (137th) but my neighbors that I talk with don't want a different Republican to represent us. We want a Democrat that represents the interests of the constituents in the district.
And who did Joe Pyles take votes from in the 139th? Traditional Republicans who wanted change? Democrats who picked a
Republican ballot? Or his own crowd that followed unique positive campaign tactics? Who owes him the win? Or loss? Watch Joe Pyles! Will he run again? Wouldn't that be refreshing!
I sailed right through the primary... but I didn't hold a victory party. ;)
I don't understand how a 10 point spread between Charlie Denison and David Dunn could have made Denison "sweat." Christ, if that's the case Lamont must have been reduced to a puddle by Lieberman.
As far as rules to break a tie, since they're Republicans, you get to head shoot one of your choice. That should make you feel all better inside.
I prefer the Klingon advancement method.
If Denison is as good as he says he is, why did he only get 55% of the vote?
That means a whole lot of people were not happy with Charles.
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