Republican wins top job after campaign focusing on salaries
WHAT HAPPENED: Republican Ed Robb narrowly defeated Democrat J. Scott Christianson in the race for Boone County presiding commissioner. He won with 24,967 votes, or 50.5 percent; Christianson got 24,439 votes, or 49.5 percent. Robb won with a slim margin of 528 votes.
REACTION: Robb celebrated the victory with fellow Republicans at the Courtyard by Marriott on LeMone Industrial Boulevard. "We like them close in my campaign. ... I look forward to getting to work first thing in the morning," he said. "I'm going to absolutely immerse myself in the 2011 budget. I'm not going to be able to change it, but I am responsible for it."
Christianson watched returns at The Blue Note. "I felt proud of our campaign and the race that we ran. I thought we did a good job of communicating with voters and letting them know what that choice was about, and I certainly respect the choice that they made."
WHAT'S NEXT: Robb will take office on Jan. 1. He will replace outgoing Democrat Ken Pearson, who is retiring after one term. The victory will make Robb the only Republican in elected county office.
ISSUES: Robb took an aggressive tack during the campaign. He suggested that Boone County officials were overpaid and wanted to create a citizen pay review committee. He also wanted to expand the size of the county commission from three members to five. This would require Boone County citizens to draft and pass a constitution, or charter, for the county.
Christianson focused on a platform to promote economic development. He said the county had weathered the economic crisis well and was in the position to capitalize on new opportunities similar to the deal that brought IBM to Columbia. Although he put forth some new ideas, Christianson wanted to preserve much about how Boone County operates.
OTHER COUNTY RACES: Every other race for county offices featured candidates who were unopposed. Those included Clerk Wendy Noren, Auditor June Pitchford, Recorder of Deeds Bettie Johnson, Collector Pat Lensmeyer, Treasurer Jan Fugit, Circuit Clerk Christy Blakemore, Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler and associate circuit judges Larry Bryson, Christine Carpenter, Leslie Schneider and Deborah Daniels.
Missourian reporter Tom Nagel contributed to this report.