Scotland County voters lined up with the rest of the state in nearly every aspect of the August 7th Primary Election, with the lone exception being the Missouri District 18 State Senate race where the overwhelming local favorite, Craig Redmon went down to defeat.
In Scotland County, 28.55% of registered voters took part in the primary election, compared to a 33.5% turnout statewide. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft reported unofficial totals, showing that roughly 4.1 million registered voters cast a ballot August 7th. Turnout in the previous two primary elections, in August 2014 and August 2016 – was about 25 percent according to the Secretary of State.
“While more voters went to the polls yesterday, there are still many who did not,” Ashcroft said. “I urge all eligible Missourians to participate in our democratic process and vote. If you’re not registered, there’s time to do so before the November general election — the deadline to register is October 10, 2018. Contact your local election authority or visit www.sos.mo.gov to register, and most importantly, make your voice heard on Election Day.”
The driving force behind the uptick in participation appeared to be Proposition A issue. Statewide nearly 1.4 million votes were cast for the question asking if right-to-work legislation, approved in 2017 by state lawmakers, should be enacted.
While the majority of Scotland County voters said no to Prop A, the 57% margin of defeat was well below the state level, where over two thirds were against the issue, with 937,241 no votes to 452,075 yes votes.
The decision was not popular with everyone, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
“Using a roughly $20 million war chest, union bosses have blocked Missourians from having the freedom to decide whether or not they join a union and pay dues,” said Daniel P. Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “As our state became a national battleground over worker freedom, millions of union dollars poured into Missouri to persuade voters. These out-of-state groups sent money to Missouri because they were fearful of losing out if Missourians had the power to stop their paychecks from being siphoned to pad union coffers and play politics.”
The chamber leader noted that most states have already passed worker freedom laws and pointed to statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show that freedom to work states are outperforming their non-freedom to work counterparts.
“The numbers don’t lie,” he stated. “Missouri will continue to fall behind until we pass freedom to work into law. Unfortunately, the unions used their massive cash advantage to drown out our positive economic message. They spread misinformation and lies, which misled many Missourians about what Proposition A would do for them and for our state’s economy.”
In Senate District 18, the lone issue local voters missed with their pick, self-proclaimed political outsider Cindy O’Laughlin, won the Republican nomination with 36.68% of the total vote. She received 9,881 votes to 7,229 for Redmon, who finished second, well ahead of fellow state representatives Nate Walker (5,336), and Lindell Shumake (4,489).
Locally Redmon earned just shy of 60% of the vote, but just 366 total ballots compared to 150 votes for O’Laughlin.
Redmon picked up additional support outside of his State Representative 4th District, as was evident by the vote total for his replacement, Greg Sharpe, who is running unopposed to replace Redmon. Sharpe received 4,249 total votes in the district on the Republican ballot, including 402 in Scotland County.
The other significant difference between local and state numbers was in the distribution of party ballots. Statewide the break down between Republican and Democrat ballots was nearly 50/50 with a slight edge to the Republicans. In Scotland County, more than 70% of the ballots cast were Republican, likely due to the state senate race, which was voted on, on all but 15 of the party’s ballots, compared to the next highest total, the U.S. Senate race which was voted on just 516 of the 631 Republican ballots.
On the Democrat ballot, the U.S. Senate race saw 188 votes cast from among the 213 ballots submitted, with the county offices of collector, circuit clerk, recorder of deeds, and circuit clerk all posting nearly similar numbers of roughly 180+ votes.
The Prop A issue was voted on 845 of the 865 ballots cast in Scotland County. That mirrored the statewide trend, where the “Right-to-Work” question had the highest participation with nearly 1.39 million total votes cast, compared to the U.S. Senate race total of 1.27 million and 1.15 million total in the other statewide race for auditor.