Missouri -- and Illinois! -- Provide Some Bright Spots in This Election

AP Photo/Morry Gash

So. That was something, eh? Well, still is — and likely will be for days (if not weeks) to come. While it’s clear we won’t know the final outcome of the presidential race for some time, there are definitely some bright spots coming out of Missouri (and even Illinois) for those of us of a conservative stripe.

First, Missouri (Note – this is not a comprehensive list of the results, just a highlight of the higher-profile contests):

  1. Presidential – The Show-Me State once again delivered for Donald Trump – solidly. Not by quite the margin as in 2016 (which was 19 points), but by 15.6% (1,711,848 to 1,242,851, with all precincts reporting, per the MO Secretary of State website).
  2. Gubernatorial – Republican Governor Mike Parson was granted a full term by Missouri voters. (Parson ascended to the top spot from the Lieutenant Governorship following the resignation of Eric Greitens in 2018.) Parson secured 1,713,152 votes to the 1,216,192 votes garnered by his Democratic opponent, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, for a 16.6 point win. (That’s significantly better than the 5.6 point win notched by Greitens in 2016.)
  3. Lt. Gov. – Republican Mike Kehoe (who was appointed to the spot following Parson’s ascendance to Governor) retained his office with 1,724,050 votes (to Democrat Alissia Canady’s 1,141,225) for a 19.8 point win.
  4. Secretary of State – Republican John (Jay) Ashcroft (yes, son of the former Governor/ Senator/U.S. Attorney General) was re-elected to his office, notching a solid 24.3 point win over his Democratic opponent, Yinka Faleti. (Ashcroft won the seat by 19.2 points in 2016.)
  5. Treasurer – Republican Scott Fitzpatrick (appointed to the spot after his predecessor, Eric Schmitt, was appointed Attorney General, replacing Josh Hawley, now a U.S Senator), retained his spot with a 21.2 point win over Democratic challenger, Vicki Lorenz Englund. (Schmitt had won the office in 2016 by a 17.1 point margin.)
  6. Attorney General – Republican Eric Schmitt handily held onto his office with a 21.7 point win over Democrat Rich Finneran. (Hawley won the office in 2016 by 17 points.)
  7. Congressional District 2 – This was thought to be a very tight race — one that might tip in favor of the Democrats — but Republican Ann Wagner held on to secure a fifth term as Representative, edging out Democrat Jill Schupp by 6.6 points.
  8. State Senate District 15 – This state senate race out of St. Louis County was predicted to go to the Democrat, Deb Lavender, but Republican Andrew Koenig surprised everyone and held onto his seat with an 8.1 point win.
  9. Constitutional Amendment 3 – This was the true surprise to come out of yesterday. In 2018, Missouri voters passed an initiative pushed heavily by “dark money” interests referred to as “Clean Missouri”. The wording was confusing and the issues were muddled but the provision included some purported ethics reforms combined with a redistricting plan that took the responsibility out of the hands of the legislature and placed it in the hands of a single individual (a demographer, appointed by the State Auditor — coincidentally, the only statewide office currently held by a Democrat) with the “goal” of redrawing all districts so that they were split 50-50 Democrat/Republican. You read that right — forget geography and electing representatives from your community; and who cares if your district looks like a narrow band snaking through the state and stretching from the center of urban St. Louis all the way out to farm communities around mid-central Missouri? By golly, you will be part of a district that is split right on down the middle (because that works so well.) Clearly, the intent was to dilute the power of Republicans who’ve seen major success in Missouri in recent years. But — get this — there were Democrats who opposed this measure, too — because it would, likewise, dilute their power in their districts. Nevertheless, the provision passed. This time around, Amendment 3, also known as “Cleaner Missouri,” was put forth to undo that silliness. Again, outside money poured into the state, this time to oppose the current Amendment. Very little money was invested from the pro-Amendment-3 side — this was largely a word-of-mouth issue. And wonder of all wonders, it passed! It was a narrow win — 2 points — but it was a win. I’ll take it!

That a red state like Missouri notched some solid wins yesterday might not be terribly surprising. But our friends to the east in Illinois, blue in its domination by Chicago and Springfield, weren’t expected to see many positive outcomes. Nevertheless, they did:

  1. Presidential – No, Donald Trump didn’t pull out a surprise win in the Land of Lincoln. He does, however, appear to have made a slightly better showing there than in 2016. Though the final count isn’t in (currently, between 82 and 97% of the vote has been counted according to Decision Desk HQ), Biden has won Illinois by 11.2 points; Clinton won it by 17.
  2. US House District 12 – Republican Mike Bost retained his seat with 61.2% of the vote.
  3. US House District 13 – Republican Rodney Davis also retained his seat with 54.6% of the vote.
  4. IL House District 111 – Republican Amy Elik took a blue seat from Democrat Monica Bristow, with 54.5%.
  5. IL House District 116 – Republican David Friess flipped another blue seat red, with 64.9% of the vote versus Democrat Nathan Reitz. The significance of those two flips is that they narrow the gap needed to wrest a supermajority away from House Speaker Mike Madigan (whom I’ve written about previously, here and here.)
  6. Graduated Income Tax Amendment, a/k/a “Fair Tax” — Anything but “fair,” this proposal would amend the Illinois Constitution to remove a mandate that all personal income tax be taxed at a flat rate. Governor J.B. Pritzker was a strong proponent of the measure, investing $56 million dollars personally into getting it passed. Much to my surprise (and the surprise of many), the measure failed, with “no” garnering 55.1% of the vote.

So, yes, there most certainly have been some positives to come out of yesterday’s election. Remember that.