Boone County, unlike Missouri, echoes national trends in presidential race

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 | 1:05 a.m. CST; updated 1:55 p.m. CST, Monday, November 12, 2012

COLUMBIA — Boone County voters bucked the tide in Missouri on Tuesday by backing both Barack Obama and the tobacco tax.

For most of the night, the county was the lone blue spot in a red state after giving the president 50 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Mitt Romney.

In the race for president, Boone County was one of just three in Missouri in Obama's corner, St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis joining it.

Boone County voted Democratic in every race but two state legislative contests, supporting Republicans Caleb Rowden, now the District 44 state representative, and Kurt Schaefer, re-elected as state senator from District 19.

The presidential race was a high priority for many Boone County voters, followed closely by Proposition B, according to previous Missourian reporting. That proposition would have increased state tobacco taxes to fund schools and smoking cessation measures.

Except for Proposition B, the county went along with the rest of the state on the other ballot issues.

Here is a breakdown of how Boone County voted in the key races:

  • Proposition B, the proposed tobacco tax: Boone County voters approved Proposition B by a margin of 20 percent, while Missouri voters opposed the measure by a slim 1.6 percent margin.
  • Proposition E, a prohibition on state-based health care exchanges: 58 percent of Boone County voters said yes to the prohibition, as did the rest of the state by a final vote tally of 62 percent.
  • Constitutional Amendment 3, to give the governor more influence in the appointment of state judges: Boone County voters overwhelmingly said no to the amendment with a vote of 82 percent. Elsewhere in Missouri, voters agreed, with 76 percent voting it down.
  • U.S. president: County voters chose Barack Obama for president with 50 percent of the vote. Missouri chose Mitt Romney with 54 percent of the total.
  • U.S. Senate: In Boone County, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill soundly defeated Republican Todd Akin by a margin of almost 26percent. Statewide, the margin of victory was smaller — 16 percent.

  • 4th Congressional District: Boone County voters chose Democrat Teresa Hensley over Republican incumbent Vicky Hartzler by a margin of 2 percent. The rest of the congressional district re-elected Hartzler by a margin of 24 percent.

  • Governor: Boone County cast 58 percent of votes in favor of Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon, who handily beat Republican Dave Spence statewide, with more than 55 percent of the voters backing Nixon.
  • Lieutenant Governor: In Boone County, Democrat Susan Montee edged out Republican incumbent Peter Kinder by 5 percent. However, Missouri voters also gave the nod to Kinder by a margin of 4 percent.
  • Secretary of State: Democrat Jason Kander won in Boone County with 53 percent of the vote, edging out Republican Shane Schoeller. The Associated Press still had not called the race for the state. Kander also won statewide in a close race that was decided by the final precinct returns. He received 49 percent of the vote.
  • State Treasurer: Boone County voters gave Democrat Clint Zweifel a 17 percent victory over Republican Cole McNary. Missouri voters also chose Zweifel in a close race that separated the two by less than 4 percent as of deadline.
  • Attorney General: In Boone County, Democratic incumbent Chris Koster won nearly 60 percent of the vote over Republican Ed Martin. Statewide, Koster was re-elected with a margin of 15 percent.

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Michael Williams November 7, 2012 | 9:29 a.m.

First, congratulations to Caleb Rowden. We needed Ken Jacob's rude and petulant behavior in the legislature like we needed another hole in the head.

Which brings me to my second point....see this map.

Yes, Boone County is proud of the fact that it is blue in a sea of red. It's cool to be different and self-admittedly wise. But, Boone County needs to understand there may be serious and negative repercussions from the rest of the state, especially to our university. I've written before that much of this state is sore at the elitism of Boone County and especially Columbia, and gave reasons for this. It sure seems to me that Democrats didn't fair particularly well in our state legislature elections....indeed, a review of the Secretary of State's office results show very few state representative and senator wins (except when running unopposed) for democrats.

I fully expect to see continuing UM money woes to the benefit of other universities in this state....courtesy of some rather pissed-off legislators from the rest of this rather red state.

In this community, we are consumers of others' money. We need to consider decreasing how often we bite the hand that feeds us.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 7, 2012 | 11:43 a.m.

I have only met Caleb once and am not in his district, but I am happy to see that Ken Jacob's negative, ugly ads did not result in his winning. I'm probably naive, but I'm hoping the fact they didn't work for him, Ed Martin, and other professional politicians may mean they are losing a bit of their effectiveness and will disappear in the future.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 7, 2012 | 1:55 p.m.

John.....and "will disappear in the future."

Don't count on it.

(Report Comment)
Trevor McDonald November 7, 2012 | 3:51 p.m.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Schultz — Thank you very much for your insight and contributions to this topic. I am the reporter who wrote the story, and I would be happy to help with any future suggestions or questions either of you may have.

— Trevor McDonald
Reporter, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 7, 2012 | 4:26 p.m.

Trevor: You might want to do a short survey of rural voters, especially those in other counties. See what they think of us. I may be wrong, or I may be right that there are some sore folks out there. I think the latter, but your data might negate this. After all, I admit my data is purely anecdotal. Whatever the case, I'd sure think Columbia would want to know one way or the other.

I'll give you just one example. I received 4 free tickets to an MU football game (on the 50 YARDLINE! complete with a parking pass in LOT A!!!!) a couple of weeks ago. I invited 3 of my farmer friends. Each and every one of them said, "No, thank you. I wouldn't set foot in that town unless I got my arm caught in a combine...and not even then unless there was a lot of blood and I was unconscious inna helicopter." And they were only 30 miles away!

Some of their words were quite descriptive and and much more verbose, and unfortunately for accuracy and general flavor are unprintable here. So, I sanitized their comments. A lot. But, this is only one of many observations and experiences I've made/had over the last decade. Didn't used to be that way after I got here in 1971, but it's changed.

I think we have a serious problem hereabouts.

(Report Comment)
Trevor McDonald November 8, 2012 | 9:55 p.m.

That is an excellent idea, Mr. Williams. I spoke with voters in Centralia as part of our election day coverage, and my fellow reporters covered the county to speak our rural neighbors. Our story with a roundup of quotes is here:

Also, we gathered short stories from Boone County voters here:

I will make sure to discuss your idea about surveying Boone County voters.

Trevor McDonald
Reporter, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)

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