If Clay County voters follow the trend set in the August primary four years ago, less than 15 percent of the county’s registered voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 7.
According to Patty Evans, Democrat director of elections, 12.5 percent of the county’s registered voters cast ballots in August 2008. Registration for the primary ended July 11, with 152,248 eligible voters on the roster.
“We anticipate a big surge for the November election,” Evans said. “Registration deadline for the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 10.”
Although there are 10 candidates from three parties at the top of the ticket vying to be Missouri’s next U.S. senator, incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill is consideredthe underdog. She faces no opposition in the primary. Three leading Republicans candidates, Congressman Todd Akin, former Missouri state treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner, are duking it out for the opportunity to take McCaskill out in the November election.
While Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon faces token opposition in the primary, he is not considered to be in trouble, according to political pundits. Of the four Republican candidates, David Spence of St. Louis and Bill Randles of Kansas City North have been the most active campaigners. The winners of both parties will face off in November.
In the most crowded race, eight Democrats, four Republican, one Libertarian and one Constitution party candidate are running for lieutenant governor. The best known of the bunch on the Democrat ticket is Susan Montee, former state auditor. The top GOP candidates are state Sen. Brad Lager and incumbent Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
State Rep. Jason Kander is hoping to keep the secretary of state’s office in Democrat hands after current Secretary of State Robin Carnahan decided not to run for re-election. Best known on the Republican side of the race is state Sen. Bill Stouffer. There are two Democrats, three Republicans, a Libertarian and a Constitution party candidate seeking the office.
Of the four candidates running for state attorney general, the best known are incumbent Attorney General Chris Koster and Republican Ed Martin.
Hoping to oust Democrat 5th District U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, who faces no opposition in the primary, are four Republican and one Libertarian. Among the GOP contenders is state Rep. Jerry Nolte of Gladstone.
Republican 6th District U.S. Congressman Sam Graves faces token opposition in the primary. Three Democrats and one Libertarian have also filed for the office.
Democrat Sandra Reeves, a former Clay County collector of revenue and a former state representative, is running against Republican state Rep. Ryan Silvey for the 17th State Senate District seat. Neither candidate faces opposition in the primary.
Running for the 12th District House seat are two Republicans, Ken Wilson and Josh Hurlbert. With no Democrat in the race, that contest will be decided in the primary.
Democrat Eric Pendell and Republican Ron Schieber are running in the 14th District; Democrat Mark Ellebracht and Republican incumbent Rep. Myron Neth in the 17th District; and Democrat Kevin Morgan and Republican incumbent Rep. T.J. Berry in the 38th District. Incumbent Democrat Rep. Jay Swearingen is unopposed in the 18th District.
Running for a House seat in the 15th District are Democrats Jon Carpenter, Shon Adamson and Carol Suter. The winner will face Republican contender Kevin Corlew in November.
Running in the 16th District are Democrat Jim Sweere and Republicans Noel J. Shull and Vic Hurlbert, a former Clay County auditor.
In the county races, Democrat incumbent Debbie Gwin is the lone candidate for public administrator.
Democrat Sherry Duffett and Republican Luann Ridgeway face no primary opposition for Eastern District commissioner. Three Democrats are running for Western District commissioner, including incumbent Larry Larson, former commissioner Gene Owen and David Peironnet.
Running for assessor are two Democrats, incumbent Assessor Cathy Rinehart and Tom Brandom, a former county commissioner and former county clerk, and Republican candidates Phil Wilson and Donald Jobe. The winners will face off in November.
Democrat incumbent Auditor Sheila Ernzen faces no primary opposition. Republican candidates for the office are Michael Till and Charles D. Adams.
A three-way race for sheriff on the Democrat side includes incumbent Sheriff Bob Boydston and challengers Bob Neal and Daryl L. Justis. The winner will face Republican contender Paul Vescovo, a former sheriff.
Democrat incumbent Treasurer Carol McCaslin faces no primary opposition. Republican candidates are Jesse Leimkuehler and Ted. A. Graves.
Prayer amendment on ballot
Clay County voters will face a constitutional amendment, known as the “right to pray in public places,” on the Tuesday, Aug. 7, ballot. The issue requires a simple majority for passage.
A “yes” vote on Constitutional Amendment No. 2 will provide that neither the state nor political subdivisions shall establish any official religion. The amendment further provides that a citizen’s right to express their religious beliefs regardless of their religion shall not be infringed and that the right to worship includes prayer in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property and in all public schools. The amendment also requires public schools to display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
A “no” vote will not change the current constitutional provisions protecting freedom of religion.
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