Thursday, Nov. 08 2012 5:31PM
Missouri voters not all red
Ticket splitting shown on the ballot for 2012
By Russ Pulley and Toriano Porter
Lee’s Summit’s Jacob Turk lost his fourth bid for Congress and lost ground from previous attempts.
In trying to unseat U.S. Rep.Emanuel Cleaver in the Fifth District race, Turk made his best showing in the previous election. Supporters thought his chances were improving.
But Cleaver got 60.2 percent this election while Turk’s percentage fell to 37.2 percent; Libertarian Randy Langkraeher got 2.6 percent. In 2010, Cleaver had 53.3 percent of the vote, while Turk had made his best showing of 44.2 percent.
Turk said did not return calls for comments.
Cleaver said he was honored and humbled by the resounding vote of confidence he received from constituents.
“I have heard from Republicans and Democrats alike - that they cast their ballot for me because they want all of our hard work in creating civility, jobs, and a strong economy, to continue,” Cleaver said.
“I will spend the next two years, as I have the last eight, getting up each and every morning and going to work for the people of Missouri’s Fifth District. And to be sure, there is much to do. I pledge to continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get people back to work, ensure a robust economy, and help the hardworking people in my district do the best they can for themselves and their families.”
Overall in the eight U.S. House districts in Missouri, six Republican candidates won, compared to only two Democratic.
Some people had speculated redistricting which moved Fifth District boundaries to include more rural counties might benefit Turk.
Cleaver says that Republican stances on cutting programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) neglected an important fact that farmers also benefit by that program from the suppliers side. He says there is interconnectedness between rural and urban issues that politicians need to recognize.
Bill Brown, a Lee’s Summit Republican who is a lobbyist and consultant, said he hadn’t yet looked at a breakdown of the votes by county.
But in general, he noted, the counties added to the district have a record of voting Democratic, although they supported conservative-leaning Democrats.
Brown said that he thinks Missouri should be considered more of a swing state than a solid “Red” state.
“It definitely is as you go down ballot,” he said.
State-wide, Missourians showed themselves to be ticket splitters.
Mitt Romney beat Barak Obama handily in Missouri, but Democrat Claire McCaskill held on to her U.S. Senate seat, beating back a seemingly resurgent campaign by Todd Akin.
Missouri re-elected Democrats to important state posts: Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster were re-elected, but Republicans also won major offices too. Republcan Lt. Gov Peter Kinder was re-elected.