CLAY COUNTY — While Clay County voters wanted to see more of incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, capturing 49 percent of the votes cast in the county to her opponent’s 47 percent, the state of Missouri had another idea, favoring Republican Josh Hawley, the state’s current attorney general, in the race for U.S. Senate with 51 percent of the state’s total votes cast.
Other state offices
While the county voted out of step with the rest of the state for U.S. senator, county voters voted with the rest of Congressional District 6, allowing Sam Graves to retain his U.S. House seat. In the county, Graves captured 58 percent of the vote, while Henry Martin, the Democratic challenger, took 39 percent. Across the 6th District, Graves garnered 65 percent voter support.
“I am humbled and grateful for the support I received this year. I’ve always represented the district to Washington, not Washington to the district, and I’m committed to making sure that our North Missouri values are heard. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump to increase economic growth and jobs through lower taxes and less regulation,” Graves wrote in a statement on election night.
In the Congressional District 5 race, Emanuel Cleaver II took 56 percent of the county’s votes to Jacob Turk’s 40 percent. The rest of the district also supported Cleaver, who captured nearly 62 percent of votes in the district.
In other races, Republican Dan Hegeman, running for re-election in Missouri’s Senate District 12, retained his seat with 72 percent of the total votes cast in the district.
Rep. Jim Neely, a Republican, also kept his District 8 Missouri House seat with 68 percent of the Clay County vote and a total of 72 percent of votes across the district.
In the state’s House District 16 race, incumbent Noel Shull retained his seat with 55 percent of the votes to Tom Gorenc’s 45 percent.
The judges on the ballot, according to Clay County’s votes, were all retained. Missouri Supreme Court Justice W. Brent Powell took 70 percent of the votes in Clay County and captured more than 71 percent statewide. Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mary Rhodes Russell had 71 percent of the votes in Clay County and garnered 73 percent of votes statewide.
Western District Court of Appeals Judge Edward R. Ardini Jr. had 67 percent of the total votes in Clay County and 71 percent statewide.
In Clay County, Associate Circuit Judge David P. Chamberlain, who serves in Circuit 7, Division 5, retained the judgeship with 70 percent of the vote. Associate Circuit Judge Karen Lee Krauser, Circuit 7, Division 6, took 71 percent of votes for the win; and Judge Tim Flook, associate circuit judge, Circuit 7, Division 9, garnered 68 percent of the vote to win.
Amendments & propositions
With votes on amendments and propositions, Clay County followed the state on several issues.
On Amendment 1, the campaign reform legislation known as Clean Missouri, Clay County voters gave 74 percent approval, while statewide voters passed the effort with 62 percent voter support.
“We are thrilled that Republicans, Democrats and Independents came together to clean up Missouri politics,” said Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the NAACP Missouri State Chapter and treasurer of Clean Missouri. “Thousands of Missourians from across the state came together to put Amendment 1 on the ballot, and then thousands more joined the fight to pass Amendment 1. It’s truly a great day for Missouri.”
Amendment 2, the medical marijuana bill with a 4 percent sales tax backed by New Approach Missouri, won about 66 percent of the votes statewide. In Clay County, “yes” votes hit 72 percent.
“Missourians overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana Amendment 2, allowing patients and veterans to work with their doctors to get safe, compassionate care,” said Jack Cardetti, New Approach Missouri spokesman. “In becoming the 31st state to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious and debilitating illnesses, Missourians showed that increasing health care treatment options for patients and supporting veterans are bipartisan Missouri values.”
Amendment 3, the medical marijuana effort backed by Springfield doctor-lawyer Brad Bradshaw that included a 15 percent sales tax, was defeated with a 69 percent “no” vote in the state. In Clay County, voters mirrored the state, also defeating the effort with 68 percent voting no. Proposition C, the third effort pertaining to medical marijuana, was solidly defeated with 56 percent of voters against the effort. Clay County voters, however, approved of the effort with 55 percent of local votes.
Amendment 4, the bingo games amendment designed remove the constitutional ban on organizations advertising bingo games passed statewide. Overall, the measure passed with 52 percent of the vote. Clay Countians gave it 56 percent approval.
For Proposition B, the move to gradually increase minimum wage, statewide, voters said “yes” with 62 percent in favor. In Clay County, that vote was 66 percent in favor.
Proposition D, designed to raise fuel taxes to better fund the highway patrol and local repairs of roads and bridges, went down in defeat with 54 percent of statewide voters casting “no” votes. Clay County voters, however, thought the measure was a good idea, supporting the use tax with 51 percent of the votes cast.
Waiting in line
With a long list of hot-button issues on the ballot, voter turnout through the state reached near record highs. In Clay County, more than 60 percent of the county’s nearly 160,000 voters went to the polls. The high turnout meant some waited in line for upward of an hour and half in cold conditions.
At Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, voters saw waits of 20 to 30 minutes as a rush of workers headed to the polls after work around 5:30 p.m.
Kay Baker, an avid voter, said she wanted to vote specifically to support those candidates and issues that are good for small business.
“I also want border control and to keep our military strong,” she said. “Being self-employed, I also want to see what health care issues are supported.”
Kristina Hoolihan waited in line with her baby and toddler.
“The biggest reason I’m in line is the gas tax,” she said. “I’m not in favor of the incremental percentages. My husband and I have longer commutes and we both travel for work. That’s a big part of our lives.”
In Kearney, voters at Annunciation Community Center on Missouri Highway 33, stood in line for upward of 90 minutes.
After waiting in line during evening rush hour with his daughter Emily, Brad Jackson, said he was willing to wait longer.
“It doesn’t matter how long, I’d wait two hours if I had to because voting is important, no matter what,” he said. Emily however, voting in her second-ever election, was happy to wait to cast her vote for McCaskill.
“It’s worth it,” she said of the 50 minute wait.