Sal Nuccio announces withdrawal from First Ward council race

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COLUMBIA - Just hours before Election Day, First Ward candidate Sal Nuccio announced over Facebook he was leaving the race and endorsing Rob Rasmussen instead.

Nuccio said Columbia deserves someone like Rassmussen, who has the right priorities, will focus on public safety, and keep the first ward a place where people feel at home.

"I see us splitting the vote and unintentionally landing someone who nobody in their right minds really wants on the council, on the council. This is not me bowing out, this is me leaning in for the long haul, and focusing on a bigger prospect here in Como in the near future," Nuccio said. 

He said it is a crowded race, and almost looks like a toss up.

Columbia voters will have the opportunity to choose three candidates to fill spots on the city council Tuesday.

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said this is the first time, in a long time, there is more than two wards open. 

This year, there are eight candidates, including Sal Nuccio, that will show on the ballot for the First Ward seat.

"For a ward race in Columbia that's the most we've had that I can remember," Noren said.

Noren said there's a good expected turnout.

"County-wide, it is not as big a turnout as what we've been seeing in April. Possibly in those three wards; the second, the sixth, and the first, yes it will be a good turnout," Noren said.

The Sixth and Second Ward are "use to it" Noren said. She said they have had very good ward race turnouts in the past. 

"It's kind of a mixed bag, we've got some wards that have really contested races, but then a lot of our county we don't have a lot of issues with candidates on the ballot," Noren said.

The First Ward race is expected to see more voters than usual. Many of the new voters are expected to be students.

Noren said she is happy more students are voting, and thinks everyone should take a part in the election.

"I'm a big believer that local elections are far more important than presidental. When the sewer backs up you don't call the White House, you deal with your city," Noren said.

She also said it is important voters check their sample ballot in the mail to make sure they go to the right polling site.

"We obviously can't afford to have the same number of polling places open for a smaller election as we do for the bigger ones," Noren said.

Noren said 22,000 people will have a polling place that differs from the one they voted at in November's election.

Voters can check their address online at the Boone County Clerk Website. If you have further questions you can contact the clerk's office at 573- 886- 4375.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.