Republican candidates dominated the Nov. 8 general election, with Democrats carrying only a handful of precincts in Jefferson City and Cole County, according to recently certified election results.
The election results demonstrated this was the year of the "outsider," said Penny Quigg, chairwoman of the Cole County Republican Committee.
"Hillary Clinton focused on targeting minorities and women in her campaign efforts, and according to analyses of the election, she did not turn out the votes in these groups. And because Trump did campaign to the 'silent majority' — those unhappy with business as usual — his supporters turned out," Quigg said.
"At an event held by our local committee, we saw many people who had never attended a political event. Clearly, they were discontented enough to make an effort to be part of a movement."
The results of the local races didn't surprise Susan Cook, chairwoman of the Cole County Democrat Committee, but she was shocked at what occurred in the national races.
"What we have here (Cole County) is what we've been seeing over the last eight years," she said. "This year in the presidential race, the split was 29 percent for Clinton and 65 percent for Trump. In 2012, the split was 32 percent for Barack Obama and 65 percent for Mitt Romney. Before my time, I've been told this used to be a blue area. It's hard to pinpoint how the change occurred."
How did the races break down?
In the race for U.S. president, Democrat Hillary Clinton won three of 14 precincts in Jefferson City. Her biggest margin of victory came in Ward 2, Precinct 1, where she garnered 55 percent of the vote compared to Republican Donald Trump's 37.8 percent. Her win in Ward 1, Precinct 1, was narrower — 48.7-43.2 percent — and even smaller in Ward 5, Precinct 1 — 46.3-45.6 percent.
Trump did have close wins in Ward 2, precincts 2 and 3, where he won 49.7 percent to 42.2 percent and 48 percent to 44 percent, respectively, but his other wins saw victory margins ranging from 57-69 percent.
Trump took the remaining 14 precincts representing the county's outlying communities, winning by margins anywhere from 64-83 percent.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Jason Kander won five precincts in Jefferson City with his largest margin of victory in Ward 2, Precinct 1, where he garnered 60 percent of the vote. Republican incumbent Roy Blunt won the remaining nine precincts with his largest margin of victory in Ward 4, Precinct 2, where he took 64 percent of the vote.
For the outlying communities, Blunt took all 14 precincts, garnering anywhere from 54-72 percent of the vote.
In the race for Missouri governor, Democrat Chris Koster won five precincts in Jefferson City, with his biggest margin of victory in Ward 2, Precinct 1, at 60 percent of the vote. Republican Eric Greitens won the remaining nine precincts, with his largest margin of victory in Ward 4, Precinct 2, at 58 percent of the vote.
Greitens won the county's 14 outlying precincts, with margins of victory from 55-68 percent.
The Cole County Eastern District Commissioner race saw Democrat Ed Williams win two Jefferson City precincts, Ward 1, Precinct 1, and Ward 2, Precinct 1, at 50.7-48.8 percent and 54.3-45.3 percent, respectively. Republican Jeff Hoelscher won the remaining five Jefferson City precincts in the Eastern District with margins of victory ranging from 53-71 percent.
Hoelscher won the nine outlying precincts, garnering anywhere from 75-87 percent of the vote.
In the race for Cole County public administrator, Democrat Jean Schwaller won four precincts in Jefferson City, with her largest margin of victory in Ward 2, Precinct 1, 60.5 percent. Republican Joe Kuensting won the remaining 10 precincts, with margins ranging from 49-68 percent.
Kuensting won the 14 outlying precincts with margins of victory ranging from 63-75 percent.
Political parties: Where do we go from here?
Cook said the Democrats work hard to find candidates to run in the local races, but numbers like these make it hard to find them.
"I'm not saying it is not possible for a Democrat to win a local race, but it seems to be that way," she said. "We've got to do a better job at drumming up our base and do more grassroots organizing."
Cook said they want to re-emphasize Democrats stand for the working class.
"We're the party that supports a higher minimum wage and labor unions," she said. "We support women having equal pay and health care, everything the middle class stands for. Republicans are more worried about giving tax breaks for corporations than on what the middle class needs. Cole County Democrats aren't giving up or discouraged. We're going to keep working."
For Cole County Republicans, national sentiment against those currently in power translated to the top statewide race, too, Quigg said.
"The neophyte gubernatorial candidate, (Eric) Greitens, defeated a seasoned state official who sought higher office despite solid endorsements from the Farm Bureau and the NRA.
"The defeat of Mrs. Clinton may have been a repudiation of the Obama presidency, including a growing dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act. Many Missourians reject the idea of expansion of Medicaid, which Gov.-elect Greitens has pledged to oppose."
To see the full breakdown of Cole County election results, visit colecounty.org, search the county clerk's page, and click on "Elections and Voter Information."