The choices for Missouri House of Representative District 60 seat are down to two — Dave Griffith, a Republican, and Sara Michael, the Democratic selection for the Nov. 6 general election.
Neither has previously held a state office.
The candidates won their parties' primary elections Tuesday.
Griffith, who served in the U.S. Army, is a former director of the local American Red Cross and former Jefferson City councilman, had faced off against Jane Beetem, who has been active in the Republican Party, and Pat Rowe Kerr, former Missouri state veterans ombudsman, a retired state employee and a business owner.
In unofficial totals, Griffith received 3,251 votes, 50.93 percent of the total votes cast in the Republican primary. Beetem received 1,649 votes, 25.83 percent. Kerr received 1,483 votes, 23.23 percent.
Michael, an attorney who owns her own firm, defeated Kevin Nelson, a nurse and business owner.
Also in unofficial totals, Michael received 1,686 votes, 62.98 percent of the total votes cast in the Democratic primary. Nelson received 991 votes, 37.02 percent.
Cole County Aug. 7 primary election resultsRead more
"I'm very relieved; it's been a long race," Griffith said. "I began knocking doors in earnest back in March. It's been a journey."
The primary was Michael's first campaign since running for student council as a sophomore in high school.
"I'm a little bit giddy," she said after learning the results of the election. "My texts are going off like crazy."
Griffith and Michael are seeking the seat held by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, who is completing his second term. Barnes served on numerous committees and most recently chaired the House committee that looked into former Gov. Eric Greitens' legal troubles. Barnes first won his seat in 2010, a year in which the Republicans shot toward a supermajority. Barnes received more than 64 percent of votes cast during the last general election, in which he defeated Nelson.
Nelson said Tuesday night that he thinks Michael will be a formidable Democrat on the November ballot.
"She has my support. We've really worked hard, and we did as much as we possibly could," he said.
Michael said she will continue to represent the people she met as she went campaigning door to door.
"People see that I have served and helped, and been willing to give," Michael said. "I fight, and I fight hard, and I fight every day. They put their faith in me to do that for them."
After placing a call to Griffith to congratulate him, Beetem said she was happy at least one person in her household won an election Tuesday — her husband, Jon Beetem, who ran unopposed for re-election as a Republican as Cole County circuit judge.
"I'm proud of the campaign we ran," Beetem said. "We ran a campaign that was about what we were about and what we want for Jefferson City. I think we gave people a choice."
Kerr said she's now looking forward to the Republican Party doing well in November.
"I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of my family," she said. "I appreciate all they did to work hard on this race. I appreciate all the people who voted for me."
Separating himself from his Republican competition was difficult, Griffith said. Much of the credit, he said, goes to his work with the United Way, American Red Cross and Easter Seals, which helped push him over the top in terms of recognition.
But there was also the miles he put on his shoes.
"If I can pinpoint one thing, it's the doors that I knocked," Griffith said. "I think it was over 5,000 doors. Maybe closer to 5,200, but who's counting?"
The conversations he held with voters have educated him about their concerns, Griffith said. He and his wife went door to door until the bitter end, he said.
"We let voters know that if they had something to talk about, they could have my cellphone number and call me."
Drawing distinctions between Griffith and her will be easy, Michael said. Position-wise, they're very different. One of Griffith's tag lines was that he was going to fix what's wrong with government, she said.
"That struck me because the supermajority is what's wrong with the Capitol," Michael said. "He might be another cog in that machinery. Drawing distinctions between the two of us is not going to be a difficult thing."