Montee wins race for state auditor

Win in Platte County seen as decisive.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:19 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Republican Sandra Thomas conceded early Wednesday morning, making Democrat Susan Montee’s the winner of the state auditor race.

Earlier in the evening when Montee was predicting victory, Sean Spence, a spokesman for Montee, said that the confidence came from the fact that Montee defeated Thomas in Platte County, the county in which Thomas has served as auditor since 1994.

“We’re going to smoke her,” Spence said.

According to election returns from the Missouri secretary of state’s office, Montee won the election by a margin of slightly less than 5 percent. Montee was leading the polls 52.4 percent to 43.7 percent with nearly 82 percent of precincts reporting.

Spence added that he was also confident because many of the votes that remained to be counted were in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, which typically favor Democratic candidates.

Representatives from the Thomas campaign could not be reached for comment.

Montee has been the Buchanan County auditor since 2000. She is a certified public accountant and has a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She said she would be the first state auditor to have both.

Montee in previous interviews said that her background in both law and finance would bring a balance between performance-based and financial audits. This balance, she said, has not been emphasized under the leadership of current State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who announced she would leave the office to run for U.S. Senate.

Montee also said she would like to oversee the potential sale of assets from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and to establish a liaison system for the 89 counties in Missouri that do not have auditors.

“I’d like to at least set up a system for specific problem counties,” she said. “We probably won’t have the resources to increase attention to a new level. But we could at least focus on specific counties.”

Libertarian candidate Charles Baum, at the time of publication, had garnered just less than 3 percent of the vote and Progressive Party candidate Terry Bunker about 1 percent.

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