Taylor, Sims prevail in Cooper County General Elections
Republican candidates all won by wide margins
Republicans Tim Taylor and Paula Sims were both surprised and happy to win their seats Tuesday during the general elections in Cooper County.
Taylor defeated Bill Betteridge, the Democratic nominee, for the Missouri State House of Representatives in the 48th District 11,420 votes to 5,286. Meanwhile, for Cooper County Public Administrator, Paula Sims won over Wendy L. Wooldridge 4,840 votes to 2,306.
The amount of support Taylor received was unbelievable, he said. It was hard to put into words to express his gratitude.
“Bill and I talked early on, even before the primaries and we were talking about the challenges that lay ahead,” Taylor said. “Bill said that he was facing a bigger challenge, and I agreed with him, about running as a Democrat in this district.”
Taylor was at the capitol on Wednesday getting drawing number assignments for seniority and learning the actual mechanics of holding state office.
“Today, I stood on the floor of the house and [gave] my first speech," he said. "[It] was really about 20 seconds of introducing myself and saying who I was, but it all became very real right then."
His conversations will transition from talking about himself with constituents to the issues. Taylor will also have to decide what committees he wants to join, such as budget and transportation.
“I want to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can and budget is the way to do that,” he said. “Transportation is another area of interest because we have I-70 and the river right in the heart of this district, so those are the things that can really make a difference for us in this district”
Taylor got choked up a little bit standing on the House floor.
“We’ve been at this for nine months now,” he said about his campaign. “Legislators, however, said it is one of the most enjoyable things in your district that you can do in life, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Betteridge had a wide range of emotions during the election.
“You put in seven months of work and effort and then it’s all over so quickly,” he said. “It’s emotions that you don’t get to feel very often, and I felt very good about the fact that we ran a positive campaign."
Betteridge focused his campaign on what he thought would be good for people in the 48th District. They never released a negative advertisement toward Taylor.
"I’m very proud of that and I wish Tim well and hope he does a great job in Jefferson City," he said.
Betteridge recognized that it was a hard-fought battle in a strongly Republican district.
“I think that this district has just had a tendency of voting for the Republican Party, so it is really a tough process to crack through that wall,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s the way to look at it, but I think a lot of people are programmed to vote for a certain party, and this then makes it kind of tough if you’re not in that party.”
Nonetheless, Betteridge called Taylor after the election to congratulate him. He also offered his help to Taylor.
As for Sims, she said she was humbled by everything.
“I’m just blessed by the turnout of the voters and the support and encouragement of everyone,” Sims said. “I’m looking forward to serving as public administrator in Cooper County and just doing my best, and just being in the office and seeing people as much as I can because I think that’s very important, especially nowadays with COVID.”
She was surprised by the nearly 75% voter turnout, but she did expect a tight race with Wooldridge.
Sims puts her win down to her experience as a case worker and how a Public Administrator works with a variety of people, including those with disabilities, like her son, Christian. She also has experience working others who need public administrators serving as guardians or conservators.
“I feel like I have that knowledge and I think that just letting people know about the position, what they do and how important it is,” Sims said. “I think that’s where I gained that support.”
Election day stats
Election day was suprisingly wonderful, Cooper County Clerk Sarah Herman said. Voters turned out as early as 5:30 a.m. and everything was verified by 8:22 p.m.
“I’m impressed by how well the community did with this being a huge presidential election and also during the pandemic,” she said. “The committee was very respectful and I’m really happy that they were."
Lines moved smoothly and election judges did everything to keep things going like clockwork, Herman said.
Turnout did fall short of 2016, which was right at 79% to 80%. Herman still was glad to see it fall between 70% and 80%. She thought it might be closer to 80 percent but was happy with the numbers.
Voters in Cooper County overwhelmingly voted for Donald J. Trump over Joe Biden, with 5,513 votes cast for Trump to Biden's 1,646. Gov. Mike Parson easily won over Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway in the county 5,435 votes to 1,594.
In the Lt. Governor race, Mike Kehoe won 78% of the votes in Cooper County over Democratic challenger Alissia Canady's 18%. U.S. Rep Vicky Hartzler won overwhelmingly in Cooper County against Democratic Challenger Lindsey Simmons. Hartzler won three-quarters of the vote compared to Simmons roughly 20%.
Wide margins are what a clerk hopes for during the elections, Herman said.
“I saw friendly faces and a lot of smiles,” she said. “Overall, I thought there were a few people that couldn’t get to the polls or were a little bit scared because of the pandemic. However, there was curbside voting that we were able to offer, especially when people were sick and were worried about getting out.”
Most county races were uncontested.
Charlie Melkersman won his Eastern District Commissioner seat while Daniel Larm won the Western District race.
For Cooper County Sheriff, Chris Class won as Cooper County Sheriff, Christy Linhart was chosen as assessor and James Hurt was re-elected as coroner.
Both Missouri constitutional amendments passed in Cooper County.
Amendment 1 focused on term limits for certain state office holders, while Amendment 3 was about lobbyist gifts, campaign finance and redistricting.
The Amendment 1 vote was fairly tight, with only about 600 votes separating the decision. There were 3,833 Yes votes compared to 3,219 for No.
The Amendment 3 vote had a wider margin with slightly more than 1,000 votes between Yes, 4,189, and No, 2,910.
Herman received the normal calls on election day. Prepping, double checking and testing the machines, training the judges and staff all went well. Her big task on election day was providing results to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“The work that we have done to get to this point of the election, I just couldn’t be more happier,” Herman said. “Holly (Brady) and Jerrid (Richards) kept the phones going and were able to answer questions, so I credit their hard work for that.”