Pivotal races were decided Tuesday in Jackson, Clay and Cass counties as voters elected new officeholders and cast ballots on several key issues.
In Cass County, two incumbents were defeated.
Republican challenger Ben Butler defeated Democratic prosecutor Teresa Hensley, 53 to 47 percent.
And longtime Cass County clerk Janet Burlingame, a Democrat, lost a close election to Republican challenger Mike Vinck, who received 50.15 percent of the vote compared with Burlingame’s 49.75 percent.
Presiding county commissioner Jeff Cox, a Republican who won 63 percent of the vote, defeated challengers Phil Duncan, a Democrat, and Lora Young, a Libertarian Party candidate. They received 30 percent and 6 percent of the vote.
▪ Sugar Creek: A proposed annexation of about 2,800 unincorporated acres northeast of the city failed. While more than 58 percent of voters within the current city limits approved the proposal, all 17 residents who voted within the proposed annexation area in unincorporated Jackson County rejected the proposal. The measure needed to gain approval in both districts to win approval.
The issue had been pulled from the April ballot by city officials, who wanted to address both a defect of the land’s legal description as well as opposition by some area residents.
▪ Blue Springs: Voters approved a proposal making the mayor a full member of the City Council. Before, the mayor only voted when council members were deadlocked. Such a practice didn’t make clear where the mayor stood on various issues, said Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross.
▪ Clay County: Voters elected Republican Jerry Nolte as their new presiding commissioner, 57 to 43 percent. Nolte replaces Pamela Mason, who was defeated in the August primary.
Republican incumbent Lydia McEvoy cruised to victory over Democratic challenger Tom Brandom in the race for county collector. McEvoy got 60 percent and Brandom, a former presiding commissioner, received 39 percent.
Former presiding commissioner Carol McCaslin defeated Democrat Sheila Ernzen in the race for county auditor, 55 to 45 percent.
▪ Smithville school district: Voters defeated a measure that would have raised the property tax levy, although a few provisional ballots remained to be counted. The proposal received 2,367 votes against and 1,933 for.
▪ Liberty: Voters approved two of three tax questions that appeared on Tuesday’s ballot. One measure would have created a use tax needed to update and expand the municipal animal shelter; it failed. Another measure will impose a transient guest tax of 5 percent on hotel rooms and a third creates a three-eighths-cent sales tax for economic development and infrastructure improvements; they both were approved.
The proposal to implement a use tax where the proceeds would have been used to improve the animal shelter failed, with 58 percent opposed. Voters approved the measure to add a transient guest tax on local hotel rooms, 55 to 45 percent. The sales tax for economic development was upheld with 56 percent of the vote.