Connie Leipard was declared the winner of the primary election for Boone County presiding commissioner on Tuesday night, defeating James Pounds and winning the Republican nomination.

Leipard will face off against Democratic nominee Kip Kendrick, who was unopposed, in the November general election.

With all precincts reporting, Leipard earned 7,897 votes compared to Pounds' 3,961 votes.

It was Leipard's first time running for public office, and Pounds' fourth time campaigning for presiding commissioner.

"I'm excited and I feel like I just got to get right back to work. This is step one but I feel good, though," Leipard said moments after hearing the election results Tuesday night at D. Rowe's Restaurant & Bar in Columbia.

The presiding commissioner’s responsibilities include adopting the annual budget for all county operations, approving expenditures for each county department, ensuring county compliance with statutory requirements and acting as a liaison with county boards, commissions and other governmental agencies.

Both candidates have backgrounds in construction, which made the experiences they brought to the table relatively similar.

Leipard owns Quality Drywall Construction, which she and her husband have run since 1979. The company works on finishing and hanging drywall for residential and family units and has also branched out to work on commercial projects.

Leipard has previously been named Columbia Tribune’s Businesswoman of the Year and was elected president of the National Association of Women in Construction back in 2016.

Pounds also owns a construction company called James Pounds Construction, which he has operated since 2003. His background in construction is one of the primary reasons why he ran for presiding commissioner.

Pounds said he cares deeply about reversing the trend of increased prices in housing in Boone County.

Pounds also previously served in the military as a Marine.

Some critical issues on the forefront of Leipard’s agenda include public safety, infrastructure, and economic development with quality jobs.

Both nominees attended watch parties for the election results in different restaurants in Columbia.

Leipard hosted a watch party at D. Rowe’s Restaurant & Bar while Pounds awaited the results of the primary at Shiloh Bar and Grill about four miles away.

A celebration ensued at D'Rowes following the announcement of the primary results. Leipard soaked in the moment surrounded by lifelong friends and company.

From Leipard's team, it was all smiles as her company celebrated the victory with wings and drinks.

Her husband, Michael Leipard, elaborated on the preparation Connie put into her campaign.

"She is a hard worker," he said. "She has been to 90-100 different events already and spoke with all kinds of people." 

"She will work for everybody and bring them all together. She will focus on the issues and focus on what needs to be done, that's why she's been successful in business."

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