DEMOCRATS VICTORIOUS IN CONTESTED STATE REP RACES IN PLATTE COUNTY
Two Republicans won contested races for open positions in Platte County government at Tuesday’s election, but Democrats had a better showing in two contested state representative races in the county, while an incumbent Republican state senator won re-election.
As for the county’s ballot question, it was an easy winner, as a quarter cent sales tax for roads garnered over 71% approval, with 28,759 in favor to only 11,471 opposed. The quarter cent is a reduction from the 3/8th cent sales tax for roads that has been in place the past 20 years. The tax has a 10-year sunset.
Voter turnout in Platte County was 62%, roughly nine percent lower than local election officials had predicted.
Winning the contested county races were Scott Fricker, Republican candidate for presiding county commissioner, and Jera Pruitt, Republican candidate for county clerk.
Fricker defeated Democrat John DeFoor by a margin of 55% to 45%, with 22,267 votes for Fricker to 18,254 for DeFoor.
Pruitt topped Democratic candidate Rebecca Nafzinger by a similar margin. Pruitt totaled 54.49% to 45.51% for Nafzinger. Pruit received 21,984 votes to 18,364 for Nafzinger.
Fricker will replace Ron Schieber, who did not seek re-election as presiding commissioner after serving two terms. Fricker’s term will officially begin on Jan. 1.
Reached late Tuesday night, Fricker said winning “feels good—it always feels good when you win, especially when you do it the right way.” Fricker added that he and his supporters had the “right message and stayed positive…(and) did not get distracted from the core message.”
DeFoor said the campaign was “a learning experience unlike anything else I’ve ever done.” During a telephone interview late Tuesday, the Democratic candidate said he feels he ran a good race that was “pretty close…to go from an unknown to 18,000 votes is pretty good,” he said and added, “I think we did what we could do—but it (Platte County) is still pretty Republican.”
When her term begins on Jan. 1, Pruitt will be replacing Nancy Armstrong as county clerk. Armstrong did not seek re-election this year after serving two terms as clerk.
State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who represents the 34th senatorial district serving Platte and Buchanan counties, won re-election. He carried the Platte County portion of the vote 55-45%, with 22,462 votes for Luetkemeyer and 18,300 for his Democratic opponent Sarah Shorter.
Luetkemeyer ran stronger in Buchanan County, as district-wide he won with 59 percent to 41 percent for Shorter.
In a phone conversation with The Landmark late Tuesday night, Luetkemeyer said he was “super thrilled” that voters in Platte and Buchanan counties returned him to the state senate.
In the race for state representative in district 12 serving the areas of Parkville and Riverside, Democrat Jamie Johnson of Kansas City defeated Tom Hutsler of Parkville. Johnson finished with 52% of the vote to 48% for Hutsler, with 7,371 votes for Johnson to 6,772 for Hutsler.
In state representative district 14, incumbent Democrat Ashley Aune of Kansas City defeated Republican challenger Eric Holmes of Kansas City 53% to 47%. Aune had 7,841 votes to 6,898 for Holmes.
As for the Congressional race, Platte County voters supported Sam Graves in his successful race for re-election in the sixth district. Graves carried more than 54% of the vote in Platte County to 43% for his Democratic opponent, Henry Martin. District-wide, Graves carried 70 percent to only 27 percent for Martin.
Platte County voters supported Eric Schmitt, Republican, in his successful race for US Senator, but not by a wide margin. Schmitt won the race handily statewide but only carried Platte County by 49% to 48% over Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine. Schmitt had 20,264 votes in Platte to 19,862 for Valentine.