COLUMBIA — Voters from Boone County's Northern District narrowed the field of candidates for the open Northern District commissioner seat to two people Tuesday. Janet Thompson and Don Bormann won the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively.
Democrats cast 2,586 ballots to Republicans' 3,885 in the Northern District commissioner race. Overall, 22.6 percent, or 20,304, of registered Boone County voters turned out for the election.
The Democratic race
Thompson won the four-way Democratic race, defeating challengers Brian Dollar, Darin Fugit and O.J. Stone.
Thompson received 1,440 votes, or 49.9 percent of ballots cast, to Fugit's 905, or 31.4 percent, according to unofficial returns from the Boone County Clerk's Office. Stone received about 14 percent, while less than 5 percent picked Dollar.
Thompson and more than 70 supporters gathered Tuesday night at a watch party held at Broadway Brewery in Columbia. Thompson was unwilling to accept her victory until most of the votes were in.
"I show horses. You never count on winning until you see the final score," Thompson said.
She said in the general election she wants to focus on what to do with the county fairgrounds, recently renamed the Central Missouri Event Center — Home of the Boone County Fair, and including everyone at the table in decision making.
"Now the work begins," Thompson said.
Fugit, who was at The Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe in Columbia, said he ran the best race he could.
"All you can do is all you can do," Fugit said. "It's been a stressful last two weeks, and one way or another I was looking for it to be over or to continue on."
Fugit said that although he planned to call and offer congratulations, he's not sure whether he will help Thompson campaign because he doesn't know her well. He said he'd more likely help his friends John Wright, a Democratic candidate for the Missouri House, or Cathy Richards, the Democratic candidate for Boone County public administrator.
The Republican race
In a close Republican race, Bormann defeated Lance Robbins by a margin of fewer than 100 votes. Bormann received 1,972 votes, only 59 more than Robbins, who won 1,914.
Bormann watched the results come in at a friend's house in Centralia. He said he hasn't decided yet what he'll focus on in the general election.
"I'll give that some thought in the next few days," Bormann said, noting that the narrow vote shows he has a lot of campaigning left to do.
Tuesday night, he planned to enjoy the victory.
Robbins placed a congratulatory call to Bormann from the Stoney Creek Inn, where he had watched results come in.
"I'm disappointed of course," Robbins said. "I look forward to working with him on county matters in the future and supporting him."
Robbins, a sergeant with the Boone County Sheriff's Department, said he is eager to spend more time with his family and refocus on his work. But his political career, he hinted, might not be over just yet.
"I'm still driven to try to make a difference in the world," Robbins said.
The winner of the November election will replace Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin, a long-serving Hallsville Democrat who decided not to seek another term.
According to reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission eight days before Tuesday's race, Bormann had $1,493 left in his campaign coffer, less than a third of his opponent Thompson's remaining funds.
"We're going to have to hit the ground running," Bormann said of the fundraising for the general election in November.
Jaime Henry-White contributed to this report.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.