John Elliott cruised to victory in a Republican primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2. Dagmar Wood ended up needing to wait for the final votes to come in before securing her spot on the November ballot.
In the First District Platte County Commissioner race, Wood received 2,031 votes compared to incumbent Beverlee Roper’s 1,936 votes. In the second district, Elliott earned 2,482 votes to challenger Jason Buckley’s 1,024 votes.
Vic Perrin’s name also appeared on the second district ballot, and he received 507 votes despite previously suspending his campaign.
With no Democratic challenger in the first district, Wood has almost certainly won the Nov. 8 general election by default, although independent candidate Andy Smith is organizing a challenge. In the second district, Elliott will face Democrat John Fairfield, an attorney and former member of the Kansas City Council, who pulled 1,702 votes as the only Democrat in the primary.
Both Elliott and Wood campaigned on lower taxes, including a proposed restructuring of the county’s one-half sales tax for parks, recreation and stormwater abatement. The candidates held a joint watch party at Stone Canyon Pizza at Zona Rosa in Kansas City, Mo., where both thanked their friends and family after the final unofficial results came in about 9 p.m.
“It feels fantastic,” Elliott said of his win. “My team worked hard, so this is a nice reward for their hard work.”
Wood likewise credited her supporters with putting her over the top.
“I’m thankful for the volunteers,” she said. “They’ve been very generous with me in their time, their talents and their treasures.”
Wood also thanked the voters for putting their trust in her.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity and for the voters’ confidence,” she said.
Elliott is looking ahead to the general election, where he said there will be an obvious difference between he and Fairfield.
“There will be a clear contrast in almost every aspect of the general election campaign,” Elliott said. “I’m a conservative, and he is a liberal; I’m for lower taxes, and he’s for higher taxes; I’m for smaller government, and he’s for bigger government.
“I’m looking forward to a spirited campaign.”
In the primary, Elliott said he wants to work with Platte County presiding commissioner Ron Schieber to address financial, operational and personnel issues in county government. Elliott’s plan for the county includes focusing on core county commission responsibilities, including law enforcement and prosecution and maintaining county roads, bridges and facilities.
Elliott wants to make law enforcement the county’s first priority, noting that increasing population in the second district brings more crime, as well as more maintenance needs. He listed several additional planned priorities such as enhancing ethics standards for commissioners, commission candidates and county employees and banning county tax questions from April ballots or special elections.
Most notably, Elliott said he would like to restructure and reduce county sales and property taxes, tackle efficiency and long term budgeting and build reserves. He supports renewal of the parks tax to support maintenance and stormwater projects, but at a lower rate and with inclusion of law enforcement needs.
It’s a sentiment shared by Wood, who said she would like to see a one-half cent renewal go to voters during a November election to receive the most voter input possible.
Wood also said she would like to see a portion of the tax allocated to parks and stormwater and a portion for public safety needs. She believes that the county has not adequately prepared for the future needs of its parks and community centers and said such an oversight is negligent.
Like Elliott, Wood said she would work with Schieber to maintain parks and community centers and save for future maintenance.
Both candidates also see one parks and recreation facility to be a drain on the county’s budget — Shiloh Springs Golf Course. Wood and Elliott have suggested the course should be removed from the county’s ledgers.
While the winner of the first district primary appeared a certain winner in November heading into the weekend, Smith — a Parkville resident — turned in 776 signatures to the Platte County Board of Elections on Monday, enough support to put his name on the November ballot as an independent. He announced he was dropping out of the Republican primary in May but also indicated a desire to collect signatures needed to run in November.
Smith kicked up his efforts during the past week and just made the cutoff.
In a Facebook post from earlier this week, Smith said he didn’t care who won the Republican primary.
“So vote for who you feel will represent you the best in the primary. Be prepared to have an alternative in the general election,” the post stated.