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Columbia Missourian

Bob McDavid tops Sid Sullivan, wins second term as Columbia's mayor

By Ethan Colbert, Elizabeth Pearl, Hannah Cushman
April 2, 2013 | 11:19 p.m. CDT
Mayor Bob McDavid talks with Tom Bradley during his election night watch party on Tuesday at Shiloh Bar and Grill. McDavid was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote.

WINNER'S PRIORITIES: McDavid has made growth of the business community a top objective, partnering early with Regional Economic Development Inc. to recruit business to Columbia. His joint efforts with REDI most recently resulted in a Chinese firm investing $6 million in MU research start-up Nanova, Inc


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Transit:With FastCat as its cornerstone, McDavid hopes to create a student-targeted transit system to generate revenue that can then be funneled into routes "That serve those who are either in the low-income group or disability group, those who actually need the service." 

Student housing: The mayor prefers that housing for MU's growing student population be built near campus. He acknowledges that parking remains a challenge but hopes proximity to campus will persuade student residents to take the bus in lieu of bringing a car to town.

Airport: For McDavid, expansion of the airport is the gateway to economic growth. He took the lead in encouraging stakeholders to ante up for a $3 million revenue guarantee struck with American Airlines in 2012. He hopes to see more frequent flights to Dallas and Chicago, to add more flight destinations and to build a new terminal at Columbia Regional Airport.


McDavid watch party

What started out as a crowded election night watch party, ended with Mayor McDavid being surrounded by a few close family and friends at Shiloh Bar and Grill. Once the results were finalized with McDavid receiving 61 percent of the vote, the cheers, chants and applause started bouncing off the walls.

"Bob, it is in," Fred Parry, publisher of Inside Columbia Magazine, said as the final precinct results were posted to the Boone County Clerk's website. "Everyone we have a new mayor – it is the same mayor, but he has a new term as mayor!"

McDavid said the chance to serve as mayor for another term was an honor.

"We've started to gain some positive momentum on accomplishing the city's goals," McDavid said. When reflecting on his first term, he said he was most proud of the progress the city made on building infrastructure, lowering the crime rate and working to bring jobs into the city.

"The work though is not done. We still have more work to do," McDavid said.

McDavid said his second term is not going to be all that different. "We will focus on the goals we get from the cross-city survey," he said. "This survey really allows us to listen and follow-up on what are the needs of the residents of Columbia."

Addressing those Columbia residents who voted for Sid Sullivan, McDavid expressed hope they might be swayed to support him throughout his second term.

"You are never going to get 100 percent of the vote in an election, but you must be sensitive to the needs of the supporters of your opponent," McDavid said. "I believe and I credit Mr. Sullivan for running a clean campaign. He challenged me on the issues, and I responded to the best of my ability."

Suzanne McDavid, McDavid's wife, said she was very proud of her husband's performance as mayor, and she hopes Columbia is proud to have him leading the city again. 

"I hope they recognize that mayor is moving the city towards a city that is fiscally stable, with jobs coming into the city and with an improved airport," Suzanne McDavid said. "I know he still has work to do, but I know he is up to the task."

Sid Sullivan watch party

Across town the laughter at Sid Sullivan's watch party at Bleu didn't stop even after the candidate and his supporters knew he had lost. 

"I'm disappointed I didn't win, of course," Sullivan said. But "I'm happy I ran." 

Khesha Duncan, a volunteer in Sullivan's campaign, said she was disappointed as well but glad the election involved serious debate about the issues. 

"There's been so much good debate, so much conversation, so much brought to light on current challenges in the community," she said. "That's the most important thing about having a challenger." 

The Sullivans have a tradition of traveling somewhere new after one of them loses an election. This time, they will probably go to the Bavarian Alps. 

"We talked about it this morning," Joan Sullivan, Sid Sullivan's wife said. "But who knows? We'll discuss it tonight when we get home." 

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.