Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS: Burnett retains State House seat — Rizzo takes Committeeman seat from Royster

Burnett with his family thanking supporters / Mike Ekey

State Rep. John Burnett early Tuesday night declared victory for a third time over challenger John Rizzo.

Burnett, speaking to a crowd of supporters in the River Market, said this primary victory was not necessarily about winning. Rather, he said, the victory proved that Northeast residents approved of the work he has already done in Jefferson City.

Voters will send Burnett back to the Capitol with 57 percent of the vote. Burnett enjoyed more of a cushion in this election winning with 933 votes as Rizzo garnered only 636.

"I am really happy with the way thing turned out," Burnett said. "I did not want to win another narrow victory. I wanted to ... know that what I was going to do in the next two years had the support of the voters."

In their last meeting, Burnett won by only seven votes.

Rizzo, meeting with supporters and campaign managers less than two blocks away from Burnett's party, said he attributed the election results to Burnett's negative attacks on him and his efforts to help the neighborhoods.

"He wanted to make this more about me and not about the issues," Rizzo said. "And it worked, I guess."

But the night was not completely lost for Rizzo as he beat Will Royster in an oddly high profile committeeman race in the 11th Ward. Rizzo said he plans to use that seat to continue to help the neighborhoods. Rizzo would not say whether he planned to run again in two years for the legislative seat as Burnett will be forced out because of term limits.

IN OTHER NEWS: Carol Royster retained her 11th ward Committeewoman seat over challenger Lindsay Runnels winning with 55 percent of the vote. Scott Wagner retained his 12th ward Committeman seat over Nick Zicarelli garnering 60 percent of the vote and Laura Wagner, 12th Ward Committeewoman ran unopposed.

In the Sheriff race, Mike Sharp bested John Bullard for the Democrats. Jim Kanatzar beat Rachel Townsend with 65 percent of the vote in the County Proctors race for Democrats.

For a full list of results and statistics, go to the Kansas City Election Board and click Current Results.

St. Anthony polling place keeps busy

Reports are sketchy, but several sources have said that a fight broke out at the St. Anthony's polling place late in the day.

Sources say that an intoxicated male went to the polling place and was becoming argumentative with campaign workers there. Tensions got hot and poll workers had to call the police to have the man escorted away.

Dispatchers confirmed that police were sent to St. Anthony, but could not say if anyone had been arrested. Voters at St. Anthony, earlier in the day, had discovered that ballots sent there had been misprinted and nearly 60 voters did not get a chance to vote in the Sheriff and Prosecutor's races.

Committee races get hot

Scott Wagner's hand-made sign stood out from the other political signs along St. John on Tuesday.

It was his last-ditch effort to get him and his wife, who are running for Democrat Committeeman and Committeewoman positions in Historic Northeast's 12th Ward, in front of voters as they cast their ballots Tuesday at Holy Cross Parish. Down on Independence Ave., drivers have spent weeks looking at several political billboards, two of which were purchased by Democrat Committeman candidate Will Royster, as well the thousands of dollars worth of advertising he purchased in The Northeast News.

The once lowly Democrat Committee position, which historically has seen little campaigning if any in Northeast, has become just as heated as the other races sharing the same ballot.

That influx of campaigning also means Committeemen and women candidates are spending more money, thus catching the attention of state and county election officials who question where that money came from.

"I have never seen anyone campaign that much as to take out a billboard for a committeeman position," said Liz Ziegler with the Missouri Ethics Commission. "That situation has us really digging for answers here."

That situation? Do Committee candidates have to file reports with the state Ethics Commission, outlining where they get their campaign donations from and how they spent that money in their campaigns, just like every other candidate on the ballot?

State, county and even city Election Board officials are unsure of the answer. Officials are even more unsure as they have watched Royster's campaign spend large amounts of money and not file any paperwork with the state or local election boards, the same financial paperwork that is required of other candidates on the ballot. Missouri law dictates that if more than $500 is spent during any campaign, by any candidate or campaign committee, then it needs to be reported to the state. Those reports are public documents.

In July, candidates had to file a quarterly financial reports showing all donations to their campaign and, in turn, how and where they spent those donations. Candidates also had to file a similar report one week prior to Election Day.

Royster, to date, has not filed that paperwork. Wagner, when questioned, indicated he and his wife have spent less than the required threshold required for reporting. Nick Zicarelli, who is running against Wagner, went through the Old Northeast New Democrats political action committee — which is up to date with their Ethics Commission filings. Reports indicated that at the time of the last filing, John Rizzo has not spent any money on his own Committeeman race against Royster.

Ethics commission officials said they were unsure what action would have to be taken, if any when they looked at the numbers in Northeast's Democrat Committee races. Royster could not be reached for comment.

City yanking signs out of parks

Both Burnet and Rizzo campaign volunteers today are saying they have seen someone in a city vehicle removing signs from park land around Northeast.

Earlier today, both camps had yard signs prominently placed along St. john in Concourse Park and Budd Park.

Volunteers said they saw the green car with city license plate pull up and begin removing signs and even warned the volunteers not to place them back in the public space.

City officials could not be reached to comment on whether this was happening all over the city or just in Northeast.

Ballots misprinted at St. Anthony polling place

Kansas City election officials have confirmed that ballots at one Northeast polling place were misprinted and left off both the Sheriff and Prosecutor's races.

Shelly McThomas, director with the Kansas City Election Board, said this morning that both high-profile races on the Democratic ballot had been accidentally left off. The error was attributed to a computer and human error.

McThomas said that only 58 people had voted before poll workers noticed the error.

"We caught it early, but not early enough," she said. Election board officials are using the registration rolls to track down those voters who got the misprinted ballots and trying to see if they can vote provisionally in those two races.

Somebody was busy, Part II

We are no detective, but it does not take much to recognize when campaign signs have been swiped from the street.

Yesterday we reported that more than a dozen State Rep John Burnett signs had been placed illegally along Cherry and Independence Ave some time late Sunday night. Well, some time last night someone went through and took down most of them but left the wire frames firmly planted in the ground.

Hmm, how curious.

Several John Rizzo signs have even gone up in their place on the busy roadway between the River Market and Columbus Park.

But the sign battle does not stop there. Rizzo's camp was back up the Concourse Park this morning placing signs in the city park. Burnett was also busy — who now has signs in Budd Park. There were also rumors, posted and e-mailed to this Newshound, that both candidates were placing signs in the yards of empty homes around Northeast.

Seriously, gentlemen, this is just getting out of hand.

Let's just hope all of the politicians will be out tomorrow cleaning up those signs.

I mean, they all promised to help clean up Northeast, we just did not realize they were going to be the ones making the mess.

(Primary) Election Day!

Image from the KC Election Board

The signs are up, the mailers are done and the debate have long gone silent. All because today is both Republicans and Democrats will square off with each other in their primary elections across the state.

Election officials, both locally and statewide have predicted a low turn out — roughly 30 percent of all registered voters. Gov. Matt Blunt even issued a statement Monday asking voters to come out to the polls to avoid an embarrassingly low turn out in this election.

However, Northeast has never been one to follow trends.

Election workers at polls around the area say they have seen a large number of people hit the polls early with some ever reporting a few slow downs as people came out before heading to work.

For more information and updates throughout the day, check here as we will be bringing you the latest results as the ballots start coming in.