by Ivan Foley
It wasn’t his victory that raised some eyebrows. It was the overwhelming margin of victory.
Incumbent Republican Congressman handily held off what pundits said would be his stiffest challenge ever. It wasn’t even close.
In the Sixth District Congressional race, Graves crushed former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes by 22% points, with Graves garnering 59% of the votes cast to only 37% for Barnes in Tuesday’s election.
In Platte County, Graves won 58% to 38%. But the writing was really on the wall very early in the evening, when results from Buchanan County came in. Barnes’ campaign staff knew a strong showing in that county would be crucial, as Barnes is a former St. Joseph resident who still claims to have ties to the area. Barnes people figured they would need 55% in Buchanan--instead it was Graves pulling in 55% in that county to only 41% for Barnes. Also, Clay County was also seen to be critical to Barnes--Graves crushed her there as well, by a count of 56% to 40%, and he went on to defeat Barnes in every single county in the district.
Graves told The Landmark in an exclusive interview Tuesday night at the Embassy Suites hotel in Platte County that his victory is especially satisfying because Barnes “outspent us so badly, by a 2-1 margin.”
Graves, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, reiterated what had been mentioned throughout the long campaign--that Barnes is simply out of touch with the Sixth District.
“She is very much in touch with the 26 city blocks of downtown Kansas City, but out of touch with this district. I represent my district to Washington, D.C. I don’t represent Washington, D.C. to my district,” he said.
Graves said voters in his district are driven by basic issues such as lower taxes, energy independence, and education, while wanting “government to stay out of our hair.” He also feels empowered by his recent vote against the $700 to $800 billion Wall Street bailout.
“As time goes by, I’m happier than ever that I voted against the bailout,” Graves told The Landmark.
Graves has also earned high marks from most observers for efficient and responsive constituent services by his staff.
BROWN BEATS BAIER
Incumbent District 30 Republican State Rep. Jason Brown, Platte City, easily won reelection over his Democratic challenger, Mary Anne Baier, by a count of 63% to 37%, getting 13,477 votes to 7,981 for Baier.
“I’m very happy, very pleased with the results,” Brown said Tuesday night, while holding his infant son in a crowd of Republican supporters at the Embassy Suites.
‘It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the 30th District. I will continue to represent everybody in Platte County in a bipartisan manner,” he added.
“We’ve worked really hard in Jefferson Ctiy and back in the district. The people of Platte County believe in simple values like low taxes, individual rights and they believe government needs to stay out of it.”
Brown praised his 79-year-old opponent.
“She was very honest and very classy, nice and as respectful as anyone I have ever run against,” Brown remarked.
Baier thanked those who supported her effort.
“I appreciate all the support I received from everybody that voted for me," said Mary Anne Baier. "I did the best I could.”
State Rep. Jason Grill, Democrat for District 32 in southern Platte County, was unopposed in his bid for a second term.
OTHER STATE, FEDERAL RACES
In other races at the state and federal level, Platte County voters bucked the national trend by favoring John McCain in the presidential race. Platte County preferred the Republican by a 52-46 margin over Democrat Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected this country’s president.
McCain barely carried Missouri, winning by about 6,000 votes, or two-tenths of a percentage point, over Obama in the state.
In the race for governor, Jay Nixon, Democrat won statewide and also carried Platte County. Nixon won in the state 58-40% and won Platte County 55-42%.
For lieutenant governor, Platte Countians followed the statewide trend by preferring Peter Kinder, Republican, 50-47%. Kinder carried the state by that same margin.
Platte County voters also followed the trend for secretary of state, preferring Democrat Robin Carnahan 57-40%. Carnahan took the state 62-36% over Republican Mitch Hubbard.
Brad Lager, Republican, was preferred by Platte County voters for state treasurer 52-46%, but his Democratic opponent Clint Zweifel won the office statewide 50-47%.
Finally, for state attorney general, Democrat Chris Koster won the state 53-47% over Republican Mike Gibbons, though Gibbons carried Platte County 51-49%.