JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Election Day has officially come and passed, and there will now be two new members joining the Missouri Legislature. But the biggest headline from Election Day across Missouri is Rep. Mike Cierpiot now becoming Senator-elect Cierpiot, following a decisive victory over up-and-comer Democrat Hillary Shields and potentially ending the political career of independent candidate Jacob Turk.
To our friends, family and supporters…THANK YOU! This was a hard fought race and I’m honored to be able to continue serving our community. pic.twitter.com/eQmwappMkF
— Mike Cierpiot (@MikeCierpiot) November 8, 2017
Cierpiot had been the favorite to win the Senate District 8 race early on, carrying the weight as a stalwart Republican leader in the Missouri House, and had been named as the Republicans’ pick. Indeed, it seemed to be an easy prediction for the House Majority Floor Leader to claim victory in a historically red district, replacing former Sen. Will Kraus.
Cierpiot’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Shields, proved to be a strong opponent in her own right, but it wasn’t until Turk, a Republican who had attempted to unseat U.S. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver multiple times, tried to join the race that Republicans began to worry.
Turk’s attempt to join the race proved to be a spark in the race, as Shields used the opportunity to aid the independent conservative in his race, thereby weakening Cierpiot’s potential victory margin.
Cierpiot’s campaign responded by funneling money into the race, outspending the other candidate by more than $300,000, while also hitting the streets to knock on doors even harder.
The Democrats’ plan to instill Shields still fell short, as she finished behind Cierpiot in the SD 8 race with 10,869 votes (43 percent), while Turk trailed behind with 1,806 votes (7 percent). In a night that proved tough for Republicans across the nation, Cierpiot claimed 12,581 votes, or 50 percent, in a three-way race.
With the addition of Cierpiot in January, Republicans will have 25 of the 34 Missouri Senate seats. Cierpiot will still have to run for a full four-year term in 2018.
In House District 23, Democrat Barbara Anne Washington defeated Republican David Martin after making a major shift by raising cash quickly and outspending her opponent in the final month. She took a commanding lead early on and never looked back, finishing the night with 1,790 votes, or 89 percent of the vote.
— Missouri Democrats (@MoDemParty) November 8, 2017
Former Rep. Tile Hubrecht’s seat in House District 151 now belongs to Republican Herman Morse, who defeated Democrat Curtis Clark, even though the Democrat raised and spent more money than the Republican. Morse secured the victory with 70 percent of the vote, 1,557 – 602.
— Missouri GOP (@MissouriGOP) November 8, 2017
Some other notable votes in the Nov. 7 elections were the Kansas City, Mo. vote on the KCI airport terminal bid and St. Louis’ Prop P, which would give a considerable raise to city police officers and firefighters.
The KCI terminal bid passed with a landslide majority, with roughly 70 percent of voters casting votes approving the measure to greenlight the project.
As for a tax and raise for city police officers and emergency responders, the measure passed with a final vote of 60 percent in favor, 40 percent dissenting.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced 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.