JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In what may have been one of the uglier primary races this August, Tony Luetkemeyer has beaten Buchanan County commissioner Harry Roberts for the Republican nomination to replace the term-limited Sen. Rob Schaaf.
Luetkemeyer, an attorney from Parkville, emerged the victor in the rather expensive contest, finishing Tuesday night with 53 percent of the vote. His opponent, Roberts, turned out 46 percent of the vote.
The race at times proved to be heated, with both sides exchanging jabs while money flowed into the campaigns and attack ads. The Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund spent more than $600,000 in the race.
Schaaf had endorsed Roberts, while simultaneously decrying Luetkemeyer’s campaign for anonymous campaign money spent on his behalf. Roberts had also been targeted with complaints filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, which were dismissed each time they were brought forward.
Luetkemeyer denied accusations that he had coordinated with the anonymous donor group, and along the way has continued raking in money, as well as several endorsements, including that of State Treasurer Eric Schmitt.
Tuesday night saw a strong showing for Roberts in his home county, but it did not prove to be enough to offset Luetkemeyer’s numbers in the neighboring Platte County.
Luetkemeyer will now face Democrat Martin Rucker of Kansas City, who was unopposed in the primary.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.