Republicans win big in Missouri, national elections
COLUMBIA - Voters in Missouri took to the polls Tuesday, electing a Republican for governor and sending 10 electoral votes to Republican President-Elect Donald Trump. Republicans won in most of the other local and state races, as well.
Voters cast their ballots for the highly-publicized U.S. Senate race and a number of ballot initiatives, including a controversial voter ID proposition and two competing cigarette tax increase proposals.
The gubernatorial race favored Republican Eric Greitens Tuesday over Democratic opponent Chris Koster. Greitens swept nearly all local counties, including Cole, Cooper, Camden, Miller, Audrain and Monroe, among others.
Greitens, who said Koster offered him his congratulations, thanked his supporters for all of their work along his campaign.
"We thank all of you for your faith and your hard work, your service, your sacrifice, your courage, and the fact that all of you have had our back," Greitens said.
The former Navy SEAL also addressed the crowd about his plans for his upcoming term as governor.
"We're going to take on the special interests, and we're going to clean up Jefferson City," Greitens said. "We're going to build a thriving economy here in the state of Missouri rooted in the core values of hard work and personal responsibility."
In his concession speech, Koster thanked all of his supporters for sticking by him throughout his career.
"I want to thank my campaign team for presenting a vision of unity and progress for my fellow citizens," Koster said. "You've earned my undying respect and gratitude. To my fellow citizens, it has been an honor to be considered by you to this important job."
The race for a U.S. Senate seat between Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander also favored the Republicans. Kander's campaign did not concede until almost 90 percent of the ballots were reported, but he congratulated his opponent on the win.
While addressing his supporters, Kander touched on the importance of not settling with the current political climate.
"This country is a place that you've got to stay invested in. You don't get to decide that you're going to be ok with the politics, that you're going to believe in the politics of this country when it goes your way," Kander said. "You've got to pick yourselves up. That's what I'm going to do."
At his rally, Blunt commented on the significance of the multiple wins for Republicans in the state election.
"What a great night for this state," Blunt said. "The opportunity to move forward in our state just multiplied by a significant number of times."
Republican Josh Hawley took the race for Attorney General over Democrat Teresa Hensley. The first-time candidate and MU law school associate professor beat out the former county prosecutor for the state's top law enforcement position. Hawley will take the position from current Attorney General Chris Koster in January.
Secretary of State
Republican John (Jay) Ashcroft won the race for Secretary of State over Democratic opponent Robin Smith.
Republican Eric Schmitt won the race for State Treasurer over Democratic opponent Judy Baker.
Republican Caleb Rowden took the race for the District 19 Missouri Senate seat over Democrat Stephen Webber in one of the tightest races in the state.
In his victory speech, Rowden touched on the other Republican wins across the state and country.
"I am absolutely honored for the chance to represent mid-Missouri in the Senate," Rowden said. "This is an incredible night for Republicans."
Proposition A, a proposed tax increase on cigarettes, failed to pass in the polls. The proposition would have increased taxes on cigarettes three times until 2021, totaling an additional tax of 23 cents per pack of 20 cigarettes. Money generated from the tax, which was estimated to total anywhere from $95 million to $103 million would have funded state infrastructure projects. Instead, the lowest cigarette tax in the nation will remain at 17 cents per pack.
A majority of voters also chose to turn down Constitutional Amendment 3, another proposed tax on cigarettes. The proposition would have raised taxes on cigarettes each year until 2020. The total additional tax would have amounted to 60 cents per pack of 20 cigarettes. The proposition would have also created a fee for cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 and would have increased annually. Funds generated from the tax would have gone toward establishing a new Early Childhood Health and Education Fund. Anticipated funds totaled anywhere from $262 million to $374 million.
Constitutional Amendment 6, a controversial voter ID proposition, passed. The proposition will require voters to verify their identity, citizenship and residence through government-issued photo identification.
Voters also chose to implement Constitutional Amendment 2, which will establish limits and regulations on campaign contributions to political parties or committees. The proposition will also prohibit candidates from concealing the source of their contributions. The contributions will not be able to exceed $2,600 per election for candidates and $25,000 for political parties. The proposition does not limit self-funding from candidates.
Constitutional Amendment 1, a proposed continuance of a sales tax for state parks, also passed. The proposal will continue the existing 0.1 percent sales tax for 10 years. Voters first approved the tax in 1984. The tax funds go toward soil and water conservation and state parks and historic sites in the state.
Voters also voted in support of Constitutional Amendment 4. The proposed amendment would prohibit new sales taxes "on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015."
Republican Donald Trump won Missouri's 10 electoral votes in the presidential election, winning more than 60 percent of votes over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with most precincts reported. This election marked the fifth straight presidential election the GOP candidate won the state.
(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include the latest results and quotations.)