COLUMBIA — Ray Boothe paid $300 for a cherry pie Tuesday night.
After two days of voting, the Columbia Professional Firefighters decided Tuesday morning to endorse Bob McDavid for mayor.
Over the last two weeks the group met with all the all of the candidates, organization President Brad Fraizer said. The group also held a forum earlier this month.
"He has a very keen business sense, is very well respected and has a lot of on-the-job experience from his work at Boone Hospital," Fraizer said.
Fraizer said the group has not decided whether to endorse candidates from any of the other city races.
“(Bob) McDavid is going to make the city safer,” Boothe said about his decision to spend $300 at a live auction fundraiser for McDavid's mayoral campaign.
The pie was one of several items auctioned off at a fundraising event for McDavid Tuesday night held at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. His wife, Suzanne McDavid, said they raised about $5,000 during the auction.
The campaign also raised money through $10 ticket sales, which got supporters into the live auction and dinner.
Several members from the public safety community attended the event. Karen and Adam Taylor of Keep Columbia Safe, which advocates for the downtown camera initiative Proposition 1, spoke at the event.
The Columbia Professional Firefighters announced their endorsement of McDavid at the event.
“We looked at them with a very critical eye, and Bob McDavid impressed the hell out of us,” said Brad Fraizer, the group's president.
Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey also said at the event he supports McDavid.
“The thing for the county is that anything in the city of Columbia affects how we do business,” Carey said. ‘”I work well with the city manager and the chief (of police), and the mayor is an integral part of making that communication work."
McDavid addressed the crowd about halfway through the event and expressed concern about economic activity and the crime rate in Columbia.
“Columbia is a great town, a great sell,” he said. “We’re going to change the direction of Columbia and move it forward.”
Valerie Barnes, one of the volunteers at the event, said she thought McDavid would be a good transition from Mayor Darwin Hindman. Barnes ran for the Sixth Ward council seat in 2006.
“He’s well respected in the community,” Barnes said. “And I’ve heard his name around Columbia forever, so I decided to get involved with the campaign.”
Missourian reporter Erin Schwartz contributed to this report.