Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley completed a major upset Tuesday to win Missouri’s election for U.S. Senate, and other Republicans down the ballot in Warren County led their races for state and local office.
Hawley led incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in voting throughout Missouri’s rural counties, taking just over 51 percent of the statewide vote, compared to McCaskill’s 45 percent. Hawley will have been in office for just two years as attorney general when he is sworn into the U.S. Senate this January.
“What the people of Missouri said tonight is that they want a senator who actually stands with the people of Missouri, who represents our values and represents our voice and will fight for us in Washington, D.C.,” Hawley said during a victory speech in Springfield. “And I will.”
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who won her re-election fight this week, now stands as the only Democrat in a statewide office.
Closer to home, Blaine Luetkemeyer easily fended off Democratic challenger Katy Geppert’s bid for his U.S. House seat. Republicans have secured the offices of Warren County’s state-level representatives and the presiding seat on the county’s governing commission.
Incumbents state Sen. Jeanie Riddle and state Rep. Bryan Spencer came through the elections with close to 70 percent of the Warren County vote in their races against Democratic opponents, with Spencer tracking slightly lower after including the Wentzville area he represents.
In the race of two political newcomers vying to represent Montgomery County and western Warren County in the Missouri House of Representatives, Republican Jeff Porter easily cleared the threshold of votes against opponent Joseph Widner. Both men are from Montgomery City.
And in the race for Warren County presiding commissioner, the top elected office of the county, Joe Gildehaus had a runaway victory against opponent David Hubbard. Gildehaus earlier this year defeated current Presiding Commissioner Roger Mauzy in the Republican primary election.
The incoming commissioner thanked his wife, family and campaign team who have supported him. He said he is excited to take office next year.
“I am humbled and honored by this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working for the people of Warren County,” Gildehaus said. Going into office, he explained that his focus would be to establish transparent and open relations with the public and city leaders in Warren County communities. Road maintenance is another concern Gildehaus said he encountered a lot during his campaign.
Voter turnout in this election was at a high-water mark with over 14,100 people, 61 percent of registered voters, showing up to the polls. That’s 16 percent higher than the turnout in August, when a “Right to Work” provision was on the ballot.
Across the state, a total of over 2.4 million people voted in this election.
Marijuana, minimum wage pass
Voters in Warren County were in step with the statewide vote when it came to medical marijuana initiatives: yes on Amendment 2, no on Amendment 3 and Prop C. Amendment 2 legalizes the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes, and creates a 4 percent tax on the drug that will benefit military veterans.
County voters were more closely split when it came to a statewide minimum wage increase. A little over 55 percent here were in favor of Proposition B, which will increase Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2023. The proposition passed with a statewide vote of 62 percent.
Also passing with a comfortable margin was Amendment 1 to the Missouri Constitution, which will put in place a series of ethics reforms and change how the boundaries of Missouri’s political districts are drawn.
A proposition to increase the state motor fuel tax by 10 cents was narrowly defeated, both at the county level and statewide. The tax revenue would have benefited state law enforcement and created a flow of new money for local and state road maintenance. Lawmakers say the state lacks necessary funding to properly maintain Missouri’s network of highways and bridges.