INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Missouri Democrats made a small legislative gain on the special elections held Tuesday night. In Independence, entrepreneur Rory Rowland’s victory over Republican Brian DeMoss will give the Democrats one more seat in the legislature.
“I’m still trying to catch my breath,” Rowland said of the win. “I want to serve the people of the district as well as possible. What I will always do is my motto, which is ‘Listen first.’ I’m their servant, I’m there to help them and serve the district.
“I was humbled by the voters response. It was a very hard-fought campaign. My hats off to my opponents, they ran good campaigns.”
Rowland will take over the seat of former state Rep. Noel Torpey, a Republican. After Torpey’s departure from the House to become the executive director for the Fair Energy Rate Action Fund, it left the 29th District, a swing district, wide open.
Rowland won by over 1,000 votes with 58 percent (2,142 votes) to DeMoss’s 36 percent (1,103). A third party candidate received just under 200 votes.
“I think the trend is that this is a turning point, and the numbers will start to go up,” Rowland said. “Clearly, the voters in this district made it clear they wanted a Democratic representative.”
For Rowland, an avid fan of President Harry S Truman’s, the chance to serve the public is something he has always wanted to do.
“I’ve never run for public office in my life,” he said. “To be a public servant is one of the highest honors of life and I’m pleased to do this.”
Rowland currently has his own consulting firm and said he would focus on furthering public education and infrastructure while opposing right-to-work legislation.
“I’ve been to every state in the union, every state capital, I’ve talked to hundreds – I know what drives Americans,” he told The Missouri Times in August. “We want to leave a life better for our children than we found it. I know it’s common and cliche, but that’s what drives us. I want to leave this earth, this state in a better place than we found it.”