GOP primary for state auditor a tight race

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Buchanan County Auditor Susan Montee cruised to victory in the Democratic state auditor's primary Tuesday while Republicans awaited the outcome of a tight three-way race in their primary.

Montee had 69 percent of the vote in her contest against Columbia accountant Darrell Wattenbarger, with 58 percent of statewide precincts reporting results.

With 58 percent of precincts also reporting in the Republican primary, Platte County Auditor Sandra Thomas, of Kansas City, had 30 percent of the vote, followed by Rep. Jack Jackson, of Wildwood, with 27 percent, and Sen. John Loudon, of Chesterfield, with 24 percent.

Republican Rep. Mark Wright, of Springfield, had 14 percent of the vote while Concordia resident Al Hanson trailed with 5 percent.

The auditor's race was thrown wide open when incumbent Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, opted against seeking a third term to instead challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Talent.

Jackson led Republicans in campaign fund-raising, thanks largely to his $500,000 loan intended to match Montee's own financial commitment in the Democratic race.

Loudon, who has served in the legislature since 1995, highlighted his sponsorship of high-profile laws; Thomas stressed her qualification as the only auditor and certified public accountant in the race. Wright cast himself as an independent voice by criticizing Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

The Republican Party also disavowed Hanson, who was convicted of felony consumer fraud in Minnesota more than 25 years ago.

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