Ashcroft

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft speaking to officials in St. Joseph last year. Ashcroft says he would like to see changes in the way the state’s constitution is amended.

There was no doubt about Missouri’s red status after Tuesday’s election.

But while Donald Trump won the state handily in the presidential race, the number of votes cast in his favor was fewer than those for Republican candidates in five down-ballot statewide races.

At the top of the list of vote-getters was Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. The Republican got 61% of the vote with 1,790,873 total ballots cast. His 25-point margin of victory Tuesday over Democrat Yinka Faleti is higher than his 20-point victory against former St. Louis television anchor Robin Smith in 2016. In that same 2016 election, then-treasurer candidate Eric Schmitt beat his opponent by a margin of 17 percentage points with then-lieutenant governor candidate Mike Parson getting into the double digits with a victory of 10 points.

Trump received 57% of the statewide votes, as did incumbent Governor Mike Parson. Parson, however, received roughly 1,300 more votes than the president’s vote total of 1,711,848 compared to Parson’s 1,713,152. Both Trump and Parson beat their opponents by 16 points.

Parson’s win is at least partially a referendum on his hands-off approach to the coronavirus, which has been surging in Missouri for months.

Galloway’s pitch to voters was that Parson mangled his handling of the pandemic and that she would do better, including requiring people to wear face masks. Parson, who has resisted imposing virus restrictions and instead left it to individuals to act responsibly to prevent the spread of the disease, has insisted that the state is managing the virus well and campaigned on his record and support of law enforcement.

Parson already has announced that he won’t seek another term in 2024, leaving a strong bench of candidates to replace him, including the person who has outperformed every statewide GOP candidate in 2016 and 2020: Ashcroft.

Also winning by double digits Tuesday were Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (19-point lead), State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick (21 point advantage) and now-Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a rising figure in Missouri politics who hauled in a 21-point victory.

All results are unofficial and must still be validated by local and state election officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mark Zinn can be reached at mark.zinn@knpn.com. Follow him on Twitter: @KNPNZinn.

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