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Republicans won 91% of precincts in Buchanan County, analysis shows
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The top two Democratic vote getters in 2020 Buchanan county election races only won two precincts, both in downtown areas of St. Joseph, according to an analysis by News-Press NOW, as Republicans rolled.

Megan Stickley, the Democratic incumbent for public administrator, and fellow Democrat Jimmy Nash, the challenger for treasurer, kept their races the closest, but Republicans swept the countywide races that were contested.

“But I would say that there was a change last night in politics for Buchanan County,” Ron Hook, a Democratic county commissioner who ran unopposed, said. Only three Democrats remain inside the courthouse as David Gall, Dean Wilson and Annette Bertelsen swept the treasurer, assessor and public administrator races.

Ron Holliday, the prosecuting attorney, and Peggy Campbell, the county collector, join Hook as the last remaining Democrats.

Both Stickley and Nash won the 3rd and 5th precincts in Downtown St. Joseph. The 3rd precinct’s polling place is at the St. Joseph Visitors Bureau, and the 5th’s polling place is at the Pony Express Museum.

Republicans won the other 21 precincts, achieving victory at 91% of polling places.

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray, a prominent Democrat, told News-Press NOW he believed the Democratic party would have to change its messaging to remain competitive outside of the most urban areas in Missouri.

“And you know, there are some people that enjoy turning the courthouse red,” McMurray said. “And it’s almost done.”

McMurray was a prominent endorser of Stickley, who was bounced from office by roughly nine percentage points.

“Running to the left is not going to work in Missouri by and large,” McMurray said. “There is a middle ground that’s made our country great.”

Both McMurray and Hook describe themselves as centrist Democrats, possibly adding to their longevity in public office. However, Hook acknowledged that Stickley, Nash and Farrow were also strong candidates.

McMurray also pointed to turnout as a factor. Buchanan County did not reach the 80% voter turnout target that several poll workers thought may happen, and the public may have come out for President Donald Trump and voted Republican down the ballot. According to the Buchanan County clerk’s website, 69% of registered voters cast a ballot in 2020.

“We didn’t have as many voters turnout as were predicted,” McMurray said. “So that’s discouraging, I would like to get everybody out to vote.”

According to the Associated Press, Missouri did set a record for total number of voters statewide with more than 3 million, but only about 70% of registered voters cast a ballot, eight points short of the record set in 1992.

Hook told News-Press NOW that local Democrats would have to do some soul searching because of the drastic shift.

“It’s something that Buchanan County Democrats are going to have to see, whether they’re going to allow this to (keep) going this direction or put up additional good candidates,” he said.

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Shop St. Joseph starts earlier this year
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The 14th year of the Shop St. Joseph Holiday Program kicked off on Nov. 4. The program encourages people to shop from over 100 local merchants.

Customers will receive individually numbered tickets for every $10 spent from any of the participating merchants. Tickets will be distributed until Dec. 14 with the winning ticket number announced on Dec. 16 for a $10,000 cash prize.

With more shoppers likely to shop online due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce is encouraging customers to find ways to still shop locally as long as merchants are making it safe and convenient.

“Obviously, we are encouraging merchants to give tickets to any online or curbside pick-ups,” said Natalie Redmond, vice president of membership at the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “Each individual merchant is responsible for how they set up and run their program, but we are encouraging them to keep their customers’ safety in mind.”

The program began earlier than in recent years with the anticipation there won’t be as much of a push to buy on Black Friday with most retailers not opening their doors on Thanksgiving night this time around.

Another reason the city is encouraging individuals to shop local is so a portion of the revenue collected can be spent on the infrastructure of St. Joseph.

“Those potholes we don’t like? When you spend local, that money goes back into the infrastructure here,” Redmond said. “When you’re buying out-of-town or with an internet giant, that money does not come here locally, so that message is more important than ever.”

Those wanting to know the list of participating merchants can find them at saintjoseph.com. Shop St. Joseph is presented by News-Press NOW.

Biden wins Michigan, Wisconsin, now on brink of White House
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WASHINGTON — Joe Biden won the battleground prizes of Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday, reclaiming a key part of the “blue wall” that slipped away from Democrats four years ago and dramatically narrowing President Donald Trump’s pathway to reelection.

A full day after Election Day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden’s victories in the Great Lakes states left him at 264, meaning he was one battleground state away from crossing the threshold and becoming president-elect.

Biden, who has received more than 71 million votes, the most in history, was joined by his running mate Kamala Harris at an afternoon news conference and said he now expected to win the presidency, though he stopped short of outright declaring victory.

“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”

It was a stark contrast to Trump, who on Wednesday falsely proclaimed that he had won the election, even though millions of votes remained uncounted and the race was far from over.

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional votes.

Trump’s campaign requested a recount, though statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes. Biden led by 0.624 percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

Since 2016, Democrats had been haunted by the crumbling of the blue wall, the trio of Great Lakes states — Pennsylvania is the third — that their candidates had been able to count on every four years. But Trump’s populist appeal struck a chord with white working-class voters and he captured all three in 2016 by a total margin of just 77,000 votes.

Both candidates this year fiercely fought for the states, with Biden’s everyman political persona resonating in blue-collar towns while his campaign also pushed to increase turnout among Black voters in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee.

Pennsylvania remained too early to call Wednesday night.

It was unclear when or how quickly a national winner could be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. But Biden’s possible pathways to the White House were expanding rapidly.

After the victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, he was just six Electoral College votes away from the presidency. A win in any undecided state except for Alaska — but including Nevada, with its six votes — would be enough to end Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Trump spent much of Wednesday in the White House residence, huddling with advisers and fuming at media coverage showing his Democratic rival picking up key battlegrounds. Trump falsely claimed victory in several key states and amplified unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Democratic gains as absentee and early votes were tabulated.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities” in several counties. And the campaign said it was filing suit in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and to raise absentee ballot concerns.

At the same time, hundreds of thousands of votes were still to be counted in Pennsylvania, and Trump’s campaign said it was moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over counting mail-in ballots there. Yet, the campaign also argued that it was the outstanding votes in Arizona that could reverse the outcome there, showcasing an inherent inconsistency with their arguments.

In other closely watched races, Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, and held onto Texas and Ohio while Biden kept New Hampshire and Minnesota and flipped Arizona, a state that had reliably voted Republican in recent elections.

The unsettled nature of the presidential race was reflective of a somewhat disappointing night for Democrats, who had hoped to deliver a thorough repudiation of Trump’s four years in office while also reclaiming the Senate to have a firm grasp on all of Washington. But the GOP held onto several Senate seats that had been considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas, Maine and Kansas. Democrats lost House seats but were expected to retain control there.

The high-stakes election was held against the backdrop of a historic pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and wiped away millions of jobs. The U.S. on Wednesday set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as several states posted all-time highs.

The candidates spent months pressing dramatically different visions for the nation’s future, including on racial justice, and voters responded in huge numbers, with more than 100 million people casting votes ahead of Election Day.

Trump, in an extraordinary move from the White House, issued premature claims of victory — which he continued on Twitter Wednesday — and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting. It was unclear exactly what legal action he could try to pursue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discounted the president’s quick claim of victory, saying it would take a while for states to conduct their vote counts. The Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.”

Vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end. In presidential elections, a key point is the date in December when presidential electors met. That’s set by federal law.

Dozens of Trump supporters chanting “Stop the count!” descended on a ballot-tallying center in Detroit, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete vote count took to the streets in cities across the U.S.

Protests — sometimes about the election, sometimes about racial inequality — took place Wednesday in at least a half-dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.

Several states allow mailed-in votes to be accepted as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. That includes Pennsylvania, where ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 can be accepted if they arrive up to three days later.

Trump appeared to suggest those ballots should not be counted, and that he would fight for that outcome at the high court. But legal experts were dubious of Trump’s declaration. Trump has appointed three of the high court’s nine justices — including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.

The Trump campaign on Wednesday pushed Republican donors to dig deeper into their pockets to help finance legal challenges. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, during a donor call, spoke plainly: “The fight’s not over. We’re in it.”

The momentum from early voting carried into Election Day, as an energized electorate produced long lines at polling sites throughout the country. Turnout was higher than in 2016 in numerous counties, including all of Florida, nearly every county in North Carolina and more than 100 counties in both Georgia and Texas. That tally seemed sure to increase as more counties reported their turnout figures.

Voters braved worries of the coronavirus, threats of polling place intimidation and expectations of long lines caused by changes to voting systems, but appeared undeterred as turnout appeared it would easily surpass the 139 million ballots cast four years ago.