By Tyler Schneider
South Kansas City voters went to the polls last Tuesday to make changes, most of which will be seen at the county level where the majority of elected legislators will be new.
The following is a recap of the elections affected south Kansas Citians.
Missouri State Senate
In what came as a surprise to almost nobody, Eric Schmitt, the current Missouri Attorney General, defeated Trudy Busch Valentine—St. Louis beer heiress and former nurse with a tragic comic book backstory—in a convincing fashion, with Schmitt snatching 55.4% of the vote over Busch’s 42.1%. Nearly 80% of Kansas Citians supported Valentine.
Missouri State Auditor
Scott Fitzpatrick hoarded 59.42% of the statewide tallies to trounce Democratic opponent Alan Green (37.55%) in his bid to become Missouri’s next State Auditor. Fitzpatrick will succeed the only current Democrat elected to a statewide office, Nicole Galloway, who lost in her bid for governor in 2020. Green took 76% of the Kansas City vote to no avail.
US House District 5
Emanuel Cleaver II is not going anywhere. The former Kansas City mayor will assume his tenth consecutive term serving Missouri’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives next year after defeating his GOP challenger Jacob Turk with Cleaver’s 60.95% topping Turk’s 36.51% in the final ballot count.
Missouri House District 36
Anthony Ealy had a much closer race than many had expected against GOP opponent Kurt Lauvstad in the race to represent District 36 in the Missouri House. The young lawyer and active campaigner duplicated the vote percentage he had attained in the primary with 61.7% (6,536 votes) ahead of Lauvstad at 38.3% (4,057).
Jackson County Executive:
Incumbent Frank White Jr. won his bid for reelection by ten percent (55%, 117,778 votes) over Theresa Cass Galvin (45%, 95,217). His defeat of Cass Galvin may represent his best ‘W’ since the 1985 World Series after an unexpected challenge from Stacy Lake in the primary had him advancing with 53 percent of the vote on Aug. 2. As expected, White took 72.21% of the Kansas City vote, while Cass Galvin gathered the bulk of her support just outside of city limits.
1st District County Legislator:
Manuel “Manny” Abarca IV kept his momentum going in the general election en route to taking 78% of the vote over GOP challenger Christina McDonough Hunt. Abarca is the first Hispanic county legislator in nearly a decade and will succeed Scott Burnett, who has occupied the seat for two decades.
4rd District County Legislator:
DaRon McGee won an unopposed race on Nov. 8 with just under 96% of the vote (23,162) against just over 1,000 write-in ballots cast. McGee, a former state representative, is the current President of the Hickman Mills School Board. He finished with 8,023 votes to defeat his Democratic primary challenger, Michael Ricardo Brown (2,309), Aug. 2.
1st District At-Large:
One of few incumbents at the county level, Jalen Anderson netted 59% of the vote (124,684 total) over retiring state Rep. for District 20, Bill E. Kidd (86,518) to retain his position as the state’s youngest elected official at 26 years of age.
It was perhaps the most competitive at-large race, which pitted Kidd’s staunch conservatism and experienced budgetary expertise against a younger candidate pushing for more equitable outcomes for all Jackson County residents, especially families and those of the lowest income brackets.
2nd District At-Large:
Democrat Donna Peyton captured 59% of the vote (124,992 total) to best Republican John J. Murphy (85,657). Peyton, a second-generation single mother, is a director on the Raytown Mills Board of Education and an administrative assistant at Macedonia Baptist Church. She supports a cap on the amount by which property tax valuations can be increased yearly, and creating flexible payment programs to help lower income residents retain their properties.
3rd District At-Large:
Democrat Megan Marshall, a 20-year Marine Corps veteran and Chicago-native, took 60% of the vote (127,231) over Republican Lance Dillenschneider (83,581). Marshall is the vice-president of the Lee’s Summit Board of Education and is particularly interested in increasing mental health resources and addressing the opioid epidemic and helping the houseless populations within Jackson County.
Constitutional Amendment 1:
54.28% of Missourians, or 1,061,253 total voters, opted to veto Constitutional Amendment 1, which, if it were passed, would have allowed the general assembly “to override the current constitutional restrictions of state investments by the state treasurer” and “allow state investments in municipal securities possessing one of the top five highest long term ratings or the highest short term rating.”
Despite an estimated zero cost to taxpayers and an increased revenue stream of $2 million per year ($34,000 for local governments), only 45.73%, or 894,096 voters, gave the measure a ‘yes’ vote.
Constitutional Amendment 3:
Missouri has finally come into the new era of American freedom, joining Maryland as the 20th and 21st states to legalize recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21. Three other states struck down their proposals: Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Just over 53%, or 1,089,326 total voters in Missouri favored the move, with 46.9% (961,909) giving Amendment 3 a ‘no’ vote.
With Amendment 3 passed, Missouri will now “remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one.”
The state will impose a six percent tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs, and is set to expunge qualifying individuals who have non-violent, marijuana related convictions on their record.
According to the ballot, the economic impact of this decision looks to be incredibly significant: “State governmental entities estimate initial costs of $3.1 million, initial revenues of at least $7.9 million, annual costs of $5.5 million, and annual revenues of at least $40.8 million,” while “local governments are estimated to have annual costs of at least $35,000 and annual revenues of at least $13.8 million.”
Constitutional Amendment 4:
Missourians decided to overwhelmingly add funds into police coffers as voters approved Amendment 4 by a wide margin of 63.24% (1,265,938) to 36.76% (735,835).
Going forward, the Missouri Constitution will now “authorize laws, passed before December 31, 2026, that increase the minimum funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners to ensure such police force has additional resources to serve its communities.”
According to the ballot language, state and local governmental entities estimate no additional costs or savings related to the approved proposal.
Constitutional Amendment 5:
The Missouri National Guard will now be established as a standalone department after 60.24%, or 1,193,908 total voters, approved Amendment 5.
Formerly under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, the Missouri Department of the National Guard will cost taxpayers an additional $132,000 annually. The new department “shall be required to protect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of Missourians,” according to the ballot language.
Constitutional Convention Question:
Every 20 years, Missourians are asked to approve or disapprove the necessity of a constitutional convention, which would consist of elected delegates that would be permitted to propose changes to the state’s constitution. Any proposed changes, including the instance of rewriting part or all of the constitution text, must then be approved by voters.
The last time Missourians were asked to weigh in was 2002, when voters overwhelmingly rejected the measure by a margin of 65.45% to 34.55%.
Not much has changed in terms of popular statewide opinion over the course of two decades, with 68%, or 1,324,937 voters, electing to strike down the measure in 2022 compared to just 32.3% (632,200) in favor of the cause.
As evidenced by the four Constitutional Amendment Questions on this year’s ballot, the constitution can also be revised via popular approval of the voters, following a lengthy process in which citizens can submit a petition to the Secretary of State office and, after checking off several boxes and gathering enough support, the cause can be issued on the official ballot to be decided on at the discretion of the voters.