Nearly 37 percent of Platte County voters turned out to cast a ballot in the primary elections held Tuesday, Aug. 7.
After 28 precincts were in for the night, a total of 22,261 voters — 36.75 percent — went to the poll in an election with very little contested battles in the county, but featured plenty on the state and national level. There were more Republicans that cast ballots (50.9 percent) than Democrats (44.8 percent), while non-partisan, Libertarian, Constitution and Green party voters made up the other five percent.
Eric Zahnd, the longest tenured elected prosecutor in the area, won a challenge for his seat from former State Rep. Nick Marshall. Zahnd received 7,746 votes (73.3 percent), while Marshall garnered 2,816 votes despite doing very little campaigning. The Parkville resident entered the race on the last filing date.
With only two people running in most races, one for each party, those advancing to November in such races as Platte County presiding commission, Missouri State House of Representative District 12, 13 and 14, were over before they really started.
One of the more hotly contested races came for the 34th district spot in the Missouri State Senate between Republicans Tony Luetkemeyer and Harry Roberts to represent Buchanan and Platte counties.
Luetkemeyer, an attorney that lives in Parkville, won Platte County and had a good showing in Buchanan County — where Roberts is from — with 39 percent of the vote. Roberts, the current Buchanan County presiding commissioner, garnered just more than 3,400 votes in Platte County.
The Republican battled to replace Rob Schaaf — who supported Roberts — brought in a large amount of money to races. A late attack campaign by a PAC, Missouri Senate Conservative Fund, spent more than $300,000 last month and tabbed Roberts as ‘Dirty Harry.’
Luetkemeyer will now face off against another St. Joseph native in Martin T. Rucker II. The current Kansas City resident was running unopposed on the Democratic ticket.
A watch party was held at Stone Canyon Pizza at Zona Rosa for Luetkemeyer, who had nearly 68 percent of the votes in Platte County. Luetkemeyer finished with 11,678 total votes between the two counties, while Roberts had 10,083.
“We’ve had a spirited primary election, but now we have to bring everyone together to keep this seat in Republican hands,” Luetkemeyer said to a crowd of about 100 friends, family and supporters.
Roberts held a late campaign stop in Platte City on Saturday, where former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft came to speak. The former Missouri Governor and Senator backed Roberts and spoke highly of Roberts to the crowd that attended the ice cream social at Kerns Homebuilders.
Dearborn resident Chris Shove came up short in his bid to be the State Representative for District 11, which covers Buchanan and Platte counties.
Shove received 27 percent of the votes in Platte (240), coming in behind Brenda Shields, who had 60.8 percent and 537 votes. Shields, a teacher in the St. Joseph School District, won by a landslide in Buchanan County with 69 percent of the vote. Shove, a former dean at Missouri Western, garnered 536 votes in that county.
Shields is the wife of former state senator Charlie Shields.
Shields will face off against Democrat Brady O’Dell, from St. Joseph, in November.
Locally, voters weighed in on Proposition A, known as the ‘right-to-work’ vote and it failed in Platte County by a 63 to 36 percent margin, with 14,066 no votes. The statewide numbers reflected those in Platte County with a 66 to 33 percentage tally.
“Tonight, Missouri voters rejected a top Republican priority and sent a resounding message that we will not leave working people behind,” Missouri Democratic party chair Stephen Weber said in a press release following the election. “Standing together, Democrats and working families successfully fought off this shameless attack on the middle class from corrupt Republican politicians in Jeff City.”
Kansas City Question 1 passed in Platte County with 59 percent of the votes, which will create a residential rental inspection program to enforce minimum health and safety standards. In Northmoor, a question to impose a local use tax failed in a close race, 32 to 27. A simple majority was needed for its passage.
Jefferson City’s Saundra McDowell had the most votes in Platte County to run for state auditor and held an 8-percent lead with all but 90 of the state’s 3,228 percincts reporting at press time. She will face off against the incumbent Nicole Galloway, who was unopposed.
In the most prominent state race, Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley will face off for a spot in the U.S. Senate in November. The incumbent McCaskill garnered 8,489 votes (86 percent) to win Platte County, while Hawley had 7,004 votes (65 percent) to easily outdistance his closet foe — Tony Monetti that had 8.6 percent.
Through social media after the two expected winners learned the results, they challenged each other. McCaskill offered up four town hall style debates to go along with an already agreed upon Missouri Press Association debate, hosted by media outlets. Hawley, the state’s attorney general, offered up a series of one-on-one debate all over Missouri on the back of a flat bed truck.
In the battle for another seat in Washington, D.C. to represent the area came in U.S. House of Representative District 6.
Republican Sam Graves, from Tarkio, has been in office since 2001, winning nine straight elections. He will face political newcomer and teacher Henry Robert Martin. A teacher in Excelsior Springs, Martin beat Winston Apple and Dr. Ed Andres in Platte County (45.6 percent, 3,864 votes) and among District 6 voters (41.6 percent).