by Ivan Foley
Platte County voters--in a big way--went against the statewide trend in the Republican race for governor.
Congressman Kenny Hulshof of Columbia topped Sarah Steelman, state treasurer from Rolla, statewide by a total of 49% to 45%.
But Steelman carried Platte County by a wide margin, getting 1,921 votes to 1,391 for Hulshof. Steelman grabbed 53% of the Platte County vote to only 39% for Hulshof.
Steelman’s wide margin of victory in Platte County came despite the fact many top-level local Republicans had endorsed Hulshof and worked for the Congressman’s effort. Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, Platte County Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight, and Platte County Republican Central Committeeman Jim Rooney had all openly expressed support for Hulshof and manned his float entry in the recent Independence Day parade at Parkville.
Hulshof, 50, has served as Congressman for the 9th District since 1997. In his campaign, he said he will work for new limits on property taxes for low-income senior citizens and for new limits on damages in personal injury lawsuits. He also supports ethics reforms and has indicated he would like to end the practice of awarding lucrative contracts to run license bureau offices to political cronies of the governor, though critics say his proposal may still allow an advantage to current license bureau contract agents.
Steelman, 50, made at least three public appearances in Platte County during her campaign. She campaigned on a platform to cut state income taxes, supported right-to-life, and favored cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. She also favored ending the ethanol mandate, the requirement that most gas sold in Missouri must contain 10% ethanol.
Steelman earned most of her support in the rural areas and in south central Missouri. She also easily carried most of the Kansas City area, a region that was largely ignored by Hulshof’s campaign.
Hulshof had strong support in the suburbs of St. Louis and in the Joplin area. He had modest support in rural areas. He and Steelman ran virtually even in Republican-heavy Greene County in southwest Missouri.
Hulshof will advance to face Jay Nixon, the current state attorney general who was virtually unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In Platte County, there were 3,672 people casting ballots in the Republican primary for governor. On the Democratic side, 3,487 folks voted in that party’s primary for governor.
Voter turnout in Platte County was 12%.
CONTESTED RACES IN
Democrats in Missouri watched an extremely tight race for their party’s nomination for state attorney general. When the dust had cleared, Chris Koster emerged as the winner by only 852 votes. Koster garnered 118,589 votes statewide to 117,737 for Margaret Donnelly. Jeff Harris pulled 86,379.
On a percentage basis, Koster finished with 34.3% to 34.0% for Donnelly.
In Platte County, Donnelly was top vote getter with 1,169 votes (35%) to 1,061 (32%) for Koster and 960 (29%) for Harris.
Koster is a state senator from Raymore and former prosecutor for Cass County. He is also a former Republican. Donnelly is a state representative from St. Louis County and Harris is a state representative from Columbia.
Democrats also had a contested race in their primary for state treasurer. That race was won statewide by Clint Zweifel with 32% of the vote to 29% for Mark Powell and 22% for Andria Simckes, with former Kansas City mayor Charles B. Wheeler getting 18%.
Platte County voters preferred Zweifel in that race. He pulled 38% of the local vote, with Wheeler getting 28% in Platte County. Powell had 18% and Simckes 17%.