CLAY COUNTY — Those living in Clay County will have many choices to make as they cast their votes in the November election, which will be decided Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The following is rundown of key offices, propositions and amendments on the ballot.
Voters in Clay County will determine who sits in several county offices as seats up for re-election are presiding commissioner, recorder of deeds and county clerk. All are four-year seats.
Running for the top county seat of presiding commissioner are Democratic challenger Wendi Bridges and incumbent Republican Jerry Nolte. Nolte seeks his second term, while Bridges seeks her first-ever elected office.
Recorder of Deeds candidates are incumbent Republican Katee Porter, currently serving her first term; and Bruce Cantwell, seeking his first elected office.
Those seeking election to the clerk’s office are challenger and Democrat Tom Brandom and incumbent Republican Megan Thompson. Thompson is serving her first term as clerk, while Brandom served as clerk from 2007 to 2010.
The offices of prosecuting attorney, collector of revenue and county auditor will also appear on the ballot, but incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Dan White, a Democrat, faces no opposition. Voters will have a chance to write in a candidate however, if they choose. Incumbent Recorder Lydia McEvoy, a Republican, also faces no opposition, but voters will have a write-in option as well. Newcomer to the office of County Auditor, Victor Hurlbert, a Republican, also faces no opposition, but the ballot also includes a write-in option for this office.
Depending on where residents live in Clay County, voters will also make choices this November for who will represent them at the state level will multiple seats in the House of Representatives and a Senate seat being on the ballot. Those in the House serve for two years, while senators serve a four-year term.
Voters in Missouri’s 12th Senate District, which includes a portion of Clay County, will choose between Republican incumbent Dan Hegeman of Cosby and Democratic challenger Terry Richard of Holt.
Voters in House District 8, which includes areas around Smithville Lake and Jesse James Park up to Cameron, will choose between Republican incumbent Jim Neely and Democratic challenger Caleb McKnight. Neely was first elected in 2012, while McKnight seeks his first term in state office.
In House District 12, which includes Smithville, voters will choose between incumbent Ken Wilson and Democratic challenger Sandy Van Wagner. If Wilson wins the seat, it will be his final term due to term limits.
Voters in House District 14, which includes Northmoor and Riverside, will choose between incumbent Republican Kevin Corlew and Democratic challenger Matt Sain.
Those in Missouri House District 15, which includes Gladstone, will choose between Democratic incumbent Jon Carpenter, who was first elected to the seat in 2012; and Republican challenger Steve West, seeking his first office.
In the House District 16 race, which includes portions of Kansas City near Liberty including around Hodge Park, voters will choose between incumbent Republican Noel Shull and Democratic challenger Tom Gorenc.
In the race for House District 17’s seat, which includes part of Liberty, Pleasant Valley and Claycomo, voters will choose between incumbent Democrat Mark Ellebracht and Republican challenger Mary Hill. Ellebracht is currently serving his first term in the House while Hill seeks her first elected office.
Those in Missouri House District 18, which includes North Kansas City, will choose between Republican Sarah Mills, who is currently serving in her first elected office as Clay County public administrator; and Democrat Wes Rogers, seeking his first elected office. Both are new to running for the seat as it is currently vacant.
Those in House District 38, which includes part of Liberty and area around Kearney, will choose between two people new to running for the seat, Democrat Abby Zavos and Republican Doug Richey. Previously, T.J. Berry held the seat, but was term limited out of office.
In addition to choosing leadership in Missouri’s General Assembly, all voters in the state will choose who serves as state auditor. Incumbent Democratic candidate Nicole Galloway faces opposition from Republican Saundra McDowell, Libertarian Sean O’Toole, Green Party candidate Don Fitz and Constitution Party candidate Jacob Luetkemeyer.
Voters throughout Missouri will also decide the fate of legalized medical marijuana, an increased fuel tax to support infrastructure and law enforcement, an increased minimum wage, removing limits on bingo game advertising and changing limits on campaign contributions.
If passed, Amendment 1, also called Clean Missouri, would amend the Missouri Constitution to: change the process and criteria for redrawing legislative districts during reapportionment, reduce limits on campaign contributions, establish a $5 limit on gifts state legislators and employees can accept from lobbyists, prohibit state legislators and employees from serving as paid lobbyists for two years after the end of their last legislative session, prohibits candidate fundraising on state property and require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public.
Missouri voters will have three questions posed to them regarding legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Two are Constitutional Amendments, while one is a proposition. Amendments would require a vote of the public on a ballot to change, while a proposition would need a simple majority of the state legislature and governor signature to change.
If all three proposals pass, the two constitutional amendments would supersede Proposition C. If both constitutional amendments pass, the one with the most yes votes becomes law.
Amendment 2, if passed, would allow for up to six flowering plants in home growth, impose a 4 percent tax on retails sales of marijuana, use tax funds for health and care services for military veterans through the Missouri Veterans Commission and requires Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services to regulate licensing, cultivation, testing and sales. It is estimated to generate $24 million in annual tax revenue.
Under the amendment, local bans are not allowed, but local governments can regulate location of facilities and dispensaries and the time and manner of their operation.
Amendment 3, if passed, does not specify allowance of home growth, would tax sales at 15 percent to fund a biomedical research and drug development institute operated by Dr. Brad Bradshaw. The amendment’s passage would also make a board of Bradshaw’s institute the regulatory agency. It is estimated the tax on sales would generate $66 million annually.
Under the amendment, local governments can prohibit facilities and dispensaries through majority vote of voters.
Proposition C, if passed, would prohibit home cultivation, tax sales at 2 percent with revenues going toward drug treatment, education, veterans’ services and public safety. It is estimated the tax would generate $10 million annually.
The regulatory agency, under the amendment, would be the existing Department of Health and Senior Services and Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Under the amendment, local governments can prohibit facilities and dispensaries through a two-thirds vote of voters.
Amendment 4, if passed, would remove language from the state Constitution limiting bingo game advertising and allow a member of a licensed organization conducting bingo games to participate in the management of bingo games after being an organizational member for six months instead of two years.
Proposition B, if passed, would increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with an 85-cents per hour increase year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12 per hour and would increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage. Exempt under the proposition are government employers.
While state and local governments estimate no direct cost savings from the measure, operating costs could increase by an unknown amount from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase based on business decisions.
Proposition D, the state’s fuel tax effort, if passed, would increase the fuel tax by 2.5 cents per gallon per year for four years beginning July 1, 2019. The proposition would also exempt Special Olympic, Paralympic and Olympic prizes from state taxes and establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund.
The amendment would also increase tax on alternative fuels used in motor vehicles such as compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas and propane.
If passed, the measure would generate an estimated $288 million annually to the State Road Fund to provide funding for law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.
Voters in the county, like those across the state, will also choose who represents them in the United States Congress.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill faces opposition from Republican Josh Hawley, Libertarian Japheth Campbell, Green Party candidate Jo Crain and Independent Craig O’Dear.
In the U.S. House of Representatives race, District 6 incumbent Sam Graves, a Republican, faces challenges from Democrat Henry Martin and Libertarian Dan Hogan.