While in St. Louis Saturday to give the commencement address for the Missouri branch of the online school Western Governors University, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused to take responsibility for last week’s failure of Amendment 7. The ballot measure would have raised sales taxes by three-quarters of a percent for ten years in order to raise money for bridges, roads and public transportation.
Whether or not you like the results of Tuesday’s election, you might find some bright spots in what it revealed about voters.
At least in St. Louis County, voters showed up in higher than expected numbers. Across the state, voters proved resistant to the influence of money. And voters even found some common ground across the rural-urban divide that often immobilizes the state.
Of course, turnout for the primary was far from stellar – about 25 percent overall. But in St. Louis County nearly 30 percent showed up – substantially more than the 20 percent predicted.
The morning after their primary victories, the new nominees for St. Louis County executive – Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream – talked briefly before back-to-back appearances at a local television station.
Their cordial conversation is in line with what each says is a commitment to focus on the issues – not personalities -- over the next 88 days leading up to the Nov. 4 election.
The results from Tuesday's primary are in. St. Louis Public Radio political reporters Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin and University of Missouri–St. Louis political science professor Dave Robertson joined us Wednesday to talk about the election's outcomes, including the St. Louis County executive race and ballot measures.
It was an early night for most of the amendments, but the farm interests had to stay up late. Shortly after midnight, unofficial state returns showed Amendment 1, the "right to farm" proposal, winning by 2,528 votes. That was a a margin of only about one-quarter of 1 percent, which is close enough to entitle the opposition to a recount.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting in statewide, Amendment 1 passed with 498,751 votes, or 50.127 percent. The "no" votes came in at 496,223, or 49.873 percent.
Missourians decisively rejected a sales tax increase earmarked for transportation projects, making for a striking defeat for a well-financed campaign from proponents and a victory for an ideologically diverse opposition coalition.
The tax – commonly known as “Amendment 7” or the “transportation tax” – would have raised Missouri’s sales tax by 0.75 percent for 10 years. It would have also barred Missouri's policymakers from instituting tolls or raising the state’s gas tax during that same time period.