Mid-Missouri Democrats chose Nicole Thompson to run for the 6th District state Senate seat Mike Kehoe held for most of the last eight years — until he resigned in June to become Missouri's lieutenant governor.
"I'm just floored by the support that I received, and I'm looking forward to continuing into November," Thompson said Tuesday night.
The district includes Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Miller, Maries, Osage and Gasconade counties.
In unofficial vote totals across the district's seven counties, Thompson, of Jefferson City, won 4,775 votes, or 54.095 percent of Democratic voters, with Mollie Freebairn coming in second at 2,114 votes, or 23.949 percent.
Bryan Struebig, of Eldon, came in third with 1,938 votes, or 21.955 percent.
"I think my platform for a more open, honest and responsive government really resonated with the people I talked to," Thompson said.
Her primary win puts her in the Nov. 6 general election against Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, who won 27,682 votes across the seven counties in an uncontested race, and Libertarian Steven Wilson, of Jefferson City, who also faced no primary opponent and received 104 votes in the Libertarian primary.
The 8,827 Democratic votes cast for all three candidates was almost 31.89 percent of Bernskoetter's total — and Thompson's total vote was only 17.249 percent of Bernskoetter's total in the seven counties.
But, Thompson said, that doesn't mean the general election race won't be competitive.
"In the past, we haven't always had Democratic candidates run in a lot of these districts, and I think a lot of people are just accustomed to pulling a Republican ballot," she said. "This is the first time in awhile that we've had a full ballot of Democratic candidates so, I think, going into the future it's just a matter of continuing to push the message out there that we have a lot of strong, Democratic candidates who are running in this area."
In Cole County — the district's most populous county — Thompson won 2,626 votes, or 57.05 percent of all Democratic votes in the county. Freebairn had 1,081 votes, or 23.48 percent. Struebig won 896 votes, or 19.47 percent.
Bernskoetter won 12,880 votes in Cole County — more than any other Republican on the county's ballots.
Wilson received 57 votes in Cole County balloting.
Thompson expects to continue with the message she used in the primary.
"It goes to my platform for being responsive and being available," she said, "that I'm willing to listen to what the voters want to say. People have kind of a distrust of our government right now, and trying to heal that is a big part of my platform and what I'm trying to do with my run."