Incumbents mostly retain seats in local state House races

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 12:28 a.m. CDT; updated 12:19 p.m. CDT, Friday, November 5, 2010
Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat running for re-election to the Missouri House, looks over the shoulder of supporter Vicki Hobbs during his watch party at Billiards on Broadway on Tuesday.

COLUMBIA — WHAT HAPPENED: All of the incumbent Democratic state representatives whose districts include parts of Boone County or Columbia retained their seats, and Republican John Cauthorn defeated Democrat Kelly Schultz for the 21st District seat.

Cauthorn received 58.7 percent of the vote and 7,084 total votes, while Schultz received 41.3 percent with 4,974 votes. 


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23rd District incumbent Democrat Stephen Webber defeated Republican challenger Paul Szopa. Webber received 68 percent of the vote and 9,370 votes. Szopa received 32 percent and 4,411 votes. 

24th District incumbent Chris Kelly kept his seat against Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser. He received 56 percent of vote and 9,407 votes, while Nauser received 44 percent with 7,425 votes.

In the 9th and 25th districts, incumbents Paul Quinn, of Monroe City, and Mary Still, of Columbia, ran unopposed.

REACTION: Cauthorn addressed his watch party at the Elks Lodge in Mexico, Mo.

“We've got our work cut out for us and it's not going to be a pretty year," Cauthorn said. "Some people have a grand illusion about being on the legislature. But when you get there, you get to make some decisions to help people."

At her Pizza Hut watch party in Mexico, Mo., Schultz said she was proud of the race they ran in a "toxic" environment.

"I am disappointed that I lost, but tomorrow I'm going to sleep in and go to work," she said. Schultz is a legislative assistant to state Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield.

From his watch party at The Blue Note, Webber said he was happy to be re-elected. 

"After serving this community for the past two years, it's certainly an honor my friends and neighbors have voted me to return," Webber said. "We had a clean race that we can both be proud of." 

Szopa spoke at the Courtyard Marriott.

“I would like to see more Republicans running in Boone County. I do not like uncontested elections,” he said. “I think the biggest advantage of my opponent is that everybody knows him and that he is a Democrat running in a very Democratic district.” 

Kelly hosted his watch party at Billiards on Broadway.  

"The results were better than I expected," he said. "I am very pleased with the results because a lot of the voting had more to do with the national agenda than local issues."

Kelly also spoke about the upcoming legislative session.  

"My legislation is not very partisan," he said. "It is based on economic development for Boone County and working for the best interest of MU. I hope that is something that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on."

Laura Nauser said she wasn't disappointed as she sat with family and friends during her election party at D. Rowe's Restaurant & Bar in the Fifth Ward. 

"It's not good to have people that run unopposed," Nauser said. "People need to have a debate and they need to have a discussion and I felt I brought that to this race and he prevailed and that's great. I like Chris; I just don't agree with some of his policies. We will move forward and tomorrow will be another day."

WHAT'S NEXT: The representatives-elect will begin the new legislative session Jan. 5, 2011, in Jefferson City. It will be Cauthorn's first term as a representative, though he served previously as a state senator. Webber will begin his second term. Kelly will start his second consecutive term and his eighth term overall. He served six consecutive terms from 1982 to 1994. It will be Still's second term and Quinn's third.

ISSUES: Cauthorn seeks to improve sources of alternative energy in mid-Missouri, including the production of ethanol and biodiesel. It is part of his larger goal to help reduce American energy dependency on foreign sources. He also wants to improve access to high-speed Internet for rural constituents.

Webber said balancing the state budget, protecting education, creating jobs and promoting economic development are the most important issues facing the 23rd District. As for the next legislative session, Webber said there is a lot more he'd like to accomplish. He will aim to take on new projects, as well as continue to push issues he started during his first term, such as the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation.

Kelly focused primarily on the state budget, funding for higher education and improving local highways. He said the legislature should ask voters to decide whether the state should have a higher cigarette tax. He also supports a $700 million bond issue that would give voters the ability to approve capital projects at public universities, including a new engineering building for MU. Kelly also favors building an overpass at U.S. 63 and Route H, near Columbia Regional Airport, to improve both public safety and economic growth.

Additional reporting by Bailey Brewer, Eric Holmberg, Alejandra Quintela Sanchez, Carla Jimenez, Johanna Somers and Eva Dou.

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