COLUMBIA — Janet Thompson beat Don Bormann on Tuesday to become Boone County's new Northern District commissioner, and incumbent Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller defeated James Pounds to ensure another term in the job she's held for 20 years.
Thompson, a Democrat, defeated Bormann, a Republican, with 16,770 votes to 14,202, or 54.1 percent to 45.8 percent in the Northern District.
Miller, a Democrat, defeated Pounds, a Republican, by a vote of 23,448 to 15,088, or 60.8 percent to 39.1 percent in the Southern District.
Thompson's campaign emphasized the importance of protecting the rural lifestyle in Boone County from urban sprawl. She offered only lukewarm, qualified support for business incentives such as enhanced enterprise zones.
She has also proposed improving the Central Missouri Event Center and doing more to promote Boone County to increase tourism in the area.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Thompson sat at a table with Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller at a Democratic watch party at The Blue Note. The jubilant crowd of about 150 watched MSNBC's election coverage on the bar's theater-size movie screen. They cheered announcements of Democratic victories across the country. Every once in a while, a man stepped in front of the screen to yell local results.
"I am honored and humbled by the people of Boone County," Thompson said. "I had no idea." She said she planned to spend time Wednesday removing her campaign signs from supporters' lawns and cleaning her horses' stalls on her ranch.
Bormann, of Centralia, emphasized fiscal responsibility and easing economic growth during his campaign. During a Republican watch party at the Holiday Inn Executive Center, Bormann waited to concede until he saw more numbers than what was being reported on Channel 17.
"I've heard that I'm losing considerably worse than what I'm seeing there," Bormann said. "But I haven't seen the numbers for myself."
After Rowden's acceptance speech, Bormann got word that his own race was also over but not victorious. He did not speak publicly to the room.
"I think I had the experience to be a very effective county commissioner," Bormann said. "I regret that I won't be able to share that experience."
Since 1989, Thompson has worked as a public defender, specializing in protecting accused criminals from the death penalty. She has said she would resign as a public defender if elected.
Bormann is a surveyor and a member of the Centralia Board of Aldermen. He also has served on the Centralia Public Library Board, the Boone County Board of Equalization and the Centralia Planning and Zoning Commission.
As of Oct. 25, Thompson had raised $47,570 to Bormann's $18,619. The bulk of Thompson's campaign contributions came from Columbia, whereas most of Bormann's came from Centralia.
In the Southern District, Miller won her seventh election for the seat. She held only one fundraiser and spent most of the campaign season attending to her duties as commissioner.
Miller spent Tuesday night making the rounds to watch parties at Broadway Brewery, The Blue Note and Shakespeare's South. She also spent time at a virtual watch party sponsored by Project Open Vault, an election-related website produced by news outlets at the Missouri School of Journalism.
"I want to thank voters in Boone County, especially in the southern district, for allowing me to serve another term," Miller said. "I want to thank my opponent for not taking things to a personal level but keeping things to an issue-based level."
A self-described “problem solver,” Miller says she uses her attention to detail to guide her through her years as commissioner.
Pounds, who is in the construction business and made poor roads and over-regulation by the county the primary themes of his campaign, lost his first bid for public office. He watched the results come in at the Republican Party Headquarters at the Parkade Center.
"I congratulate her," Pounds said. "It's been a tough race. It's pretty hard to beat a 20-year incumbent. I expected to do a little better than I did."
Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill, a Democrat, was unopposed in his bid to fill an unexpired two-year term left open by the death of his predecessor, Republican Ed Robb. Atwill has served in that role since Gov. Jay Nixon appointed him to the position in October 2011.
Voters also elected Democrat Cathy Richards to a second term as Boone County public administrator. Republican John Sullivan was making his third bid for the office but came up short again. Richards won the race with 54.3 percent of the vote.
Several incumbents were unopposed in their bids for re-election to county offices. They included Sheriff Dwayne Carey, Assessor Tom Schauwecker, Treasurer Nicole Galloway and Circuit Judges Christine Carpenter and Kevin Crane.
Associate Circuit Judge Michael Bradley, whom Nixon appointed in April 2011 to fill Carpenter's job after she was promoted to circuit judge, was unopposed for a two-year extension of his term.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.