TODAY'S QUESTION: Was Anthony's win in the Fifth Ward surprising?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 | 11:12 a.m. CDT

An election race that was marked by high spending and negative campaigning is finally over. Helen Anthony won the Fifth Ward Columbia City Council seat with about 53 percent of the vote Tuesday night, defeating Glen Ehrhardt.

The Fifth Ward candidates ran relatively high-priced elections. Ehrhardt and Anthony spent more money than all the First Ward candidates combined. 

As of March 29, Ehrhardt had spent $13,766 on the campaign; Anthony had spent $11,722. 

To put those numbers in perspective, First Ward winner Fred Schmidt spent $5,769 in the same time period, according to a previous Missourian report.

The election trail also became more heated when both candidates debated on the role of city firefighters in the campaign. 

Anthony sent out fliers last month questioning the endorsement that the Columbia Professional Firefighters association gave to Ehrhardt. The flier had messages saying, “What has Ehrhardt promised the firefighters?” and “Political deals have no place between City Council members and city employees."

Also, Ehrhardt became the first candidate endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce to lose a council race since the organization started endorsing candidates in 2010. Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl, Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley and Mayor Bob McDavid all received endorsements in the previous municipal election.

Were you surprised by Helen Anthony's win in the Fifth Ward?

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Paul Allaire April 6, 2011 | 11:22 a.m.

I think that it is disgusting that a group of city employees would organize and campaign for a particular candidate. This, however, seems to be the normal pattern of activity around here.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 6, 2011 | 11:23 a.m.

That said, I AM pleasantly surprised by the results of the election.

(Report Comment)
Mike Sykuta April 6, 2011 | 3:34 p.m.

Why would it be surprising to anyone? Based on the last numbers I saw reported, Anthony had raised twice as much money as Ehrhardt and my observation was that she also had far more (and many larger) signs around town. Going into election day, my assumption was that she was the clear frontrunner.

(Report Comment)
Mike Sykuta April 6, 2011 | 3:35 p.m.

I should have added...I was surprised to see the total expenditures reported in this story. They are very different than the numbers I saw reported here just a couple weeks ago.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 6, 2011 | 4:30 p.m.

Mike, candidates recently had to file an 8 days before election campaign report and that is presumably what the Missourian is reporting from. There will be a final campaign report post-election but the timeframe is escaping me at the moment.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black April 6, 2011 | 4:47 p.m.

Not at all. She will do well.

(Report Comment)
Linda Dellsperger April 7, 2011 | 6:54 a.m.

Absolutely an upset. Helen was the first candidate not endorsed by the Chamber to win. No one worked harder than Helen to win this seat. She was a tireless campaigner, knocking on doors and personally meeting voters. She had a dedicated group backing her. She will be a fabulous council person and will represent the 5th with class.

(Report Comment)
Ryan macker April 7, 2011 | 11:27 p.m.

Whilst it is a surprise, it is a pleasant surprise none the less. The Chamber of Commerce really should stay out of politics by not endorsing any more candidates... especially ones that lose. Anthony still won, whilst despite the fact she had no free publicity in the way that Ehrnhardt had. I'm quite glad to see that those awful radio adverts, with all of those so-called "endorsements", did nothing at all to help him win.

(Report Comment)

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