Republican Tony Luetkemeyer knocked off Democrat rival Martin T. Rucker II in a closely watched State Senate race for an open seat being vacated by incumbent Sen. Rob Schaaf.
Will unofficial results in, Luetkemeyer maintained a 4 percent advantage over Rucker: 52 percent to 48 percent, a difference of about 3,500 votes.
Luetkemeyer, a first-time candidate with close political connections, topped Rucker in both of the counties that encompass District 34.
“We got to know voters the old-fashioned way by knocking on doors and asking them for their vote,” Luetkemeyer said. “That really resonates with people.”
In Buchanan County, Luetkemeyer beat the St. Joseph native by 6 percentage points, or nearly 2,000 votes. The GOP candidate picked up 15,903 votes (53 percent) in Buchanan County compared to 13,913 votes (47 percent) for Rucker.
The margin wasn’t as large in Platte County though, but Luetkemeyer still inched out more votes. With all 28 precincts reporting, Luetkemeyer had 22,745 votes (52 percent) and Rucker registered 21,102 votes (48 percent).
The final vote tally between counties gave Luetkemeyer 38,648 votes and Rucker 35,015.
The race was a contentious one, filled with attack ads and several million dollars in spending. This is the first time the seat will be held by someone not from Buchanan County, according to available records from the State of Missouri.
Luetkemeyer, 34, won August’s Republican Primary after defeating Harry Roberts in another contentious and expensive race. The private attorney graduated from the University of Missouri in 2006.
Rucker, 33, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. He was not immediately available for a comment.
MO SENATE | DISTRICT 34
|Tony Luetkemeyer (R)||38,648||52%||54 of 54|
|Martin T. Rucker II (D)||35015||48%|