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Columbia Missourian

Webber, Still win Democratic nods for state House seats

August 6, 2008 | 12:14 a.m. CDT
Mary Still, a candidate for Missouri state representative in the 25th District, talks to Frieda McKee of Columbia during Still's election watch party Tuesday night in Columbia.

COLUMBIA - By large margins, Stephen Webber and Mary Still won the Democratic nominations for the 23rd and 25th district seats in the Missouri House of Representatives, respectively, on Tuesday.

For Webber, who faces no Republican opponent in November, it means he'll almost certainly assume the post in January.


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Webber defeated opponent Cande Iveson 3,391 votes to 1,735, or 66.15 percent to 33.85 percent, reflecting a vigorous and effective campaign by him and his staff.

After being introduced by former Missouri Gov. Roger Wilson, Webber made a semi-official victory statement during his party at Shiloh's Bar and Grill, giving special thanks to his campaign staff, especially his campaign manager and brother, Jonathan Webber.

"When this race started, there weren't two people that thought it could be done. There was one person who thought it could be done, and it wasn't me." Webber said. "If he weren't working on this race, I wouldn't be representing the 23rd District, it's as simple as that."

Iveson, surrounded by supporters at Harpo's, said she enjoyed running but was disappointed with the outcome.

"I think we ran a great campaign, and I am very happy with what we did," she said. "I thought it was a great race, and we'll just have to look ahead to November now."

Webber is in line to assume the seat currently held by Democrat Jeff Harris, who lost a bid for his party's nomination for attorney general.

"This is going to be a big couple of years for Missouri," Webber said as results indicated he would most likely be the winner. "Thank you all for your support. I'm going to work hard to represent you and this district."

In the 25th District, three candidates spent much of the spring and summer competing for the Democratic nomination to run for the seat held by Judy Baker, D-Columbia, who decided to run for the 9th District Congressional seat. Mary Still came out on top with 1,359 votes,  55.02 percent of total ballots cast.

"The canvassing was really the highlight (of the campaign)," Still said. "People remembered I came to their house, and that's what they said over and over at the polls."

Still's opponents, Sean Spence and Bob Pund, pulled 30.4 percent and 14.57 percent, respectively.

Still was surrounded by supporters Tuesday night at her campaign headquarters in the Harlan, Harlan and Still law office. In a presumptive victory speech at about 10:45 p.m., she thanked them for all their hard work.

"It's not official, but it's looking really good," Still said. "We ran a great race. I really can't stress enough how great the process was. Going door-to-door, meeting people and getting groups to sign on. In a district of this size, you see how important that is."

Spence gathered with supporters at Houlihan's Restaurant to watch the returns.

"The whole race has been fun," Spence said early in the evening. "I've spent every day for the last seven months talking with people about important issues. What could be better than that?"

After final results were in, Spence did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Pund and his supporters watched the returns at Billiards On Broadway.

"I'm very disappointed, but at the same time it was an opportunity," Pund said. "I spoke with Mary, she was conciliatory and gracious, and maybe we can work together in some way in the future. I met a lot of people I wouldn't have if I hadn't run."

Still will face Republican Ryan Asbridge in the November general election.

There were no primary contests in the other races for House seats representing parts of Columbia or Boone County. In the 9th District, Democratic incumbent Paul Quinn is unopposed, rendering both the primary and the general election a formality. In the 21st District, Democrat Kelly Schultz will face Republican incumbent Steve Hobbs. And in the 24th District, which has the potential to be the most expensive campaign for a House seat that Missouri has ever seen, Democrat Chris Kelly, a former state representative and circuit judge, will face two-term incumbent Republican Ed Robb.