Stouffer edges Bellamy in tight state Senate race

Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Bill Stouffer

With more than 72,000 votes cast, Republican Bill Stouffer won the District 21 state Senate race by a margin of less than 3,000.

Stouffer, a resident of rural Marshall, was challenged by Page Bellamy, a Democrat currently serving as Lafayette County prosecuting attorney. Across the Senate district, which includes Carroll, Chariton, Clay, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray and Saline counties, Stouffer took 37,653 votes compared to Bellamy's 34,836.

With both candidates having close ties to Saline County, the race here was a tight one, going back and forth as the county's 19 precincts reported their totals Tuesday night.

"I'm just glad it's over," Stouffer said Wednesday morning. "It was a hard-fought campaign."

Stouffer thanked his campaign staff and family for their support and said he looked forward to getting to work. His first goals as a freshman legislator will be to develop an equitable funding formula for Missouri schools and to tackle tort reform.

"I want to make sure that rural Missouri has the strong voice it needs to get our fair share," Stouffer said. "Having lived here all my life, I care deeply about this area and will fight for the values that we hold dear."

Stouffer carried 15 of Saline County's precincts, receiving most of his support in the rural areas. His largest margins of victory were in Mt. Leonard, Orearville, Herndon and the traditional Republican stronghold of Sweet Springs. Bellamy carried three of Marshall's four wards, losing in Ward 3 by only five votes. In addition, he won in Slater by a margin of nearly 300 votes.

One early indicator that the county would sway toward Bellamy came around 8 p.m. Tuesday when the tally of absentee ballots was posted in the Saline County Courthouse rotunda. Those results showed a 354 to 331 Bellamy victory. He went on to carry the county by a 4,297 to 4,077 margin.

Bellamy said Wednesday he had already called to congratulate Stouffer on his victory and wished him the best in the coming term. Bellamy also said he would offer his assistance in any way to help improve life for rural Missourians.

"I really believe it's needed," he said.

Bellamy said he was proud of the clean campaign he ran and appreciated all the support he was given. He said he was also thankful he was able to meet "so many wonderful people throughout the district."

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