Statewide, Missouri’s voter turnout was at just over 70 percent last Tuesday, Nov. 3, with more than 3 million of the state’s 4.3-million voters casting ballots.
That number was even higher in Webster County, despite a lack of contested local races.
A record 79.1 percent of the county’s 23,838 registered voters participated in last week’s general election. A total of 18,854 ballots were cast.
“High turnout was expected, but this did surpass my estimate for the turnout percentage,” County Clerk Stan Whitehurst said.
Reason for the high participation?
“The presidential election,” Whitehurst said.
In the presidential race in Webster County, the big winner was incumbent President Donald J. Trump, who received 14,874 votes in absentee and election-day voting, good for 79.24 percent of all ballots cast.
Trump, whose running mate for vice president was Mike Pence, is a Republican.
Well behind in second place was Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the former vice president from 2008 to 2016, who received 3,572 votes — 19.03 percent.
Biden’s running mate was Kamala Harris, a California senator.
Other presidential candidates included Libertarian candidates Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen (254 votes, 1.35 percent), Constitution Party candidates Don Blankenship and William Mohr (39 votes, 0.21 percent) and Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Nicole Walker (33 votes, 0.18 percent).
As of Monday, the national results of the presidential race remained uncertain and votes were being counted in several states.
Statewide, Republicans cruised to wins in every race with all candidates receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote.
Those winning margins were almost 20-percent higher in Webster County.
Leading the ticket was Mike Parson in the governor’s race with 78.7 percent of the vote. Parson, who hails from Bolivar, received 14,709 votes in the county, winning handily over second-place finisher Nicole Galloway, the Democrat candidate, who earned 3,576 votes (19.13 percent). Other finishers were Libertarian Rik Combs (317 votes) and Green Party candidate Jerome Howard Bauer (87 votes).
In the lieutenant governor’s race, Republican Mike Kehoe received 14,728 votes (80.1 percent). Next was Democrat Alissia Canady at 3,159 votes (17.2 percent). Libertarian Bill Slantz had 354 votes, followed by the Green Party’s Kelley Dragoo at 150 votes.
Republican John R. “Jay” Ashcroft cruised to a second term as Missouri’s secretary of state, winning Webster County with 14,897 votes — 80.7 percent. Democrat Yinka Faleti was second with 2,936 votes (15.9 percent), in third was Libertarian Carl Herman Freese (353 votes), while the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, included Green Party candidate Paul Lehmann (143 votes) and Paul Venable of the Constitution Party (139 votes).
Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican easily won a second term, earning 79.84 percent of the county’s vote. He was selected on 14,569 ballots. Democrat Vicki Lorenz Englund was second with 3,148 votes (17.25 percent). Libertarian Nicholas “Nick” Kasoff received 433 votes (2.37 percent), followed by the Green Party’s Joseph Civettini with 97 votes.
In the race for attorney general, incumbent Eric Schmitt won a second term. In Webster County, Schmitt, a Republican, received 14,737 votes (80.5 percent), while Democrat Rich Finneran was a distant second with 2,937 votes (16 percent). Libertarian Kevin C. Babcock was selected on 638 county ballots for the office.
A pair of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, easily kept their two-year seats.
In the 4th District, Hartzler received 11,139 votes in Webster County, good for 79.8 percent of all ballots cast.
Democrat Lindsey Simmons was at 2,420 votes (17.34 percent), followed by Libertarian Steven K. Koonse with 398 votes.
In the 7th District, Long was picked on 3,327 ballots (74.5 percent). Democrat Teresa Montseny received 891 county votes (19.94 percent). In third was Libertarian candidate Kevin Craig, who earned 251 votes.
In the race for state senator for Missouri’s 33rd Senatorial District, which includes Webster County, Republican Karla Eslinger was the huge winner and will inherit the position held for the past eight years by State Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, who is retiring.
Eslinger received 14,840 votes in Webster County. She was selected on 81.6 percent of all county ballots. Democratic candidate Tammy Harty received 3,352 votes here.
Republicans John Black and Hannah Kelly will return for two-year terms in the Missouri House of Representatives after each cruised to victories last week.
Black ran against Democrat Raymond Lampert and won the Webster County vote by a margin of 8,072 to 2,081.
Kelly was unopposed and received 7,368 votes in the county.
Republicans will maintain strong super majorities in both bodies of the Missouri Legislature when the 2021 legislative session begins in January.
In the Missouri House, there will be 114 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
In the Missouri Senate, there will be 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
For the position of Northern District commissioner in Webster County, Republican Dale Fraker easily defeated Democrat Terry Hardy. The margin was 7,995 (83.21 percent) to 1,613.
Unopposed for new, four-year terms of office were Republican candidates Randy Owens for Southern District commissioner, Roye Cole for sheriff, Austin Graybill for assessor, Michael Taylor for coroner, Gary A. Drennan for surveyor and Danielle Boggs for public administrator.
This year’s election in Missouri saw a record number of absentee and mail-in ballots.
In an effort to address concerns about the COVID-19 crisis, the Missouri Legislature passed legislation earlier this year to give Missourians additional mail-in ballot options.
The end result was that approximately 828,000 registered voters in Missouri voted by absentee or mail-in ballots. That figure is nearly three times higher than the number of absentee ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.