by Ivan Foley
Two candidates who ran on a platform of lower taxes and higher accountability easily won election to the Platte County Commission on Tuesday, while a tax increase for the local library district was approved by a wide margin.
In district two in northern Platte County, John Elliott, Republican, pulled away from Democrat John Fairfield, carrying 60% of the vote. Elliott had 14,364 votes to 9,714 for Fairfield.
Elliott has for years been active in politics behind the scenes in Platte County, working as a manager of campaigns for other candidates and serving on the Republican Central Committee. Fairfield is a former city councilman for the City of Kansas City.
Elliott will take the place of current second district commissioner Duane Soper, who did not seek reelection.
In the southern part of the county in district one, Dagmar Wood was also victorious by a very comfortable margin, defeating independent candidate Andy Smith 13,866 to 8,752, with 61% for Wood and 39% for Smith.
Wood had defeated incumbent Beverlee Roper in the Republican primary in August by 95 votes.
On a national scale, Republican Donald Trump pulled off a stunner, winning the presidency over a heavily favored Hillary Clinton. Statewide, it was a successful night for Republicans in sweeping the state offices.
The Mid-Continent Public Library’s tax increase means the tax levy in the district, which covers Clay, Platte and portions of Jackson County, will go from 32 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 40 cents, a 25% increase.
District wide, the measure won with about 61% approval. In the Platte County portion of the district, where it had received outspoken opposition from the county commission and had been opposed by the Platte County Economic Development Council board, the measure was approved 59% to 41%, with 28,474 in favor to 19,578 opposed.
Elliott and Wood celebrated their victories together at a gathering at Stone Canyon Pizza in Zona Rosa Tuesday evening.
“I’m thrilled that lower taxes and higher accountability still resonates with so many people. I’m looking forward to working with presiding commissioner (Ron) Schieber and commissioner-elect Wood to prove it can be done,” Elliott said.
Elliott had easily won the Republican primary in August. His campaign had been going door-to-door in the district for many months.
“I’m grateful to my volunteers, especially my wife Julie, for visiting 12,000 doors since early April,” he said.
Wood also thanked her volunteers.
“I am grateful for all of my volunteers and absolutely could not have done this without them. I am looking forward to serving with presiding commissioner Schieber, commissioner-elect Elliott, Platte County officeholders and department heads,” she said Tuesday night.
On a topic related to the library, Gordon Cook, a Parkville accountant who made his opposition to the district’s tax increase public, was appointed this week to fill a vacant spot on the library district’s board of directors. Cook will take the place of Nancy Kraus-Womack, who had recently resigned. Womack had opposed the district’s proposal, as well.
“My purpose in serving on the board will be to see that the financial resources provided to MCPL are used wisely and efficiently while meeting the real needs of citizens and the surrounding communities,” Cook told The Landmark this week.
Voter turnout in Platte County was 78.58 percent, which is an impressive total but shy of the 85% election officials had predicted. In 2008, the last time the presidential race did not feature an incumbent, voter turnout in Platte County was 74.61 percent.
In state representative races, incumbents Ken Wilson, Nick Marshall and Kevin Corlew were reelected to their respective spots. All are Republicans.
Platte County results in those races: Wilson, 3124 to 1,696 over Sandy Van Wagner in district 12;
Marshall 12,432 to 8,635 over Tyler McCall in district 13; and Corlew 10,080 to 9,064 over Martin T. Rucker II in district 14.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Republican, was reelected by Missourians. Platte Countians did not follow the statewide trend, however, as Platte County voters preferred Democrat Jason Kander 23,790 to 22,913, 49% to 47%.
Eric Greitens, Republican, won the governor’s race over Democrat Chris Koster. In Platte County, Greitens carried 50% of the vote to 47% for Koster.
For lieutenant governor, Republican Mike Parson defeated Democrat Russ Carnahan. Parson carried Platte County 52% to 43%.
For secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft defeated Democrat Robin Smith. Platte Countians liked Ashcroft 58-37%.
For state treasurer, Eric Schmitt defeated Judy Baker and carried Platte County 56% to 39%. For attorney general, Republican Josh Hawley topped Democrat Teresa Hensley statewide, with Platte Countians liking Hawley 56% to 41%.
Statewide, two cigarette tax increase measures were both defeated by voters. Amendment 3 was defeated statewide 59% opposed to 41% in favor. In Platte County, voters opposed it 54% to 46%. Proposition A was defeated statewide 55% to 45%. Platte County voters narrowly opposed it, with 24,085 opposed to 24,072 in favor.
Amendment 6, the Voter ID issue, was approved statewide 63% to 37%. Platte Countians liked it 66% to 34%.
Amendment 4, prohibiting new sales taxes on any services not already taxed, was passed 57% to 43% across the state and Platte County voters liked it 54% to 46%.
Amendment 1, the renewal of the state parks and conservation sales tax, was approved statewide 80% to 20%. Platte Countians preferred it 82% to 18%.
Amendment 2, restoring limits on campaign contributions in the state, passed statewide with 70% in favor to 30% opposed. It caps donations to individual candidates at $2,600. It passed at an interesting time as campaign spending for the Missouri governor’s race reached $54 million. Platte County voters liked it with 72% in favor to 28% opposed.
For any local results you don’t see listed here, go to http://www.plattemovotes.org/results/