By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian
JACKSON, Mo. -- Voters on Tuesday chose David Ludwig for Cape Girardeau county auditor, assuring he will succeed longtime officeholder H. Weldon Macke, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Ludwig, a former Jackson alderman, defeated Matt Hopkins, a Cape Girardeau city councilman in a hard fought Republican primary race in which both men advertised heavily. Ludwig won by 703 votes, 4,719 to 4,016.
Ludwig, who garnered 54 percent of the vote, faces no opposition in the November general election.
Both candidates actively campaigned for the job, but the race in the Republican primary didn't register with some voters.
After voting separately Tuesday afternoon at the Arena Building, Cape Girardeau residents Donna Wigfall and Lawanna Eifert said they voted for Hopkins at the last minute.
"It was a spur of the moment decision," said Wigfall who remembers seeing Hopkins' yard signs along city streets. "I'm sure the signs helped," she said.
But not enough. "We ran a hard campaign," said Hopkins, who said he knocked on about 4,000 doors throughout the county. He said heavy voter turnout in Jackson -- his opponent's home base -- contributed to his loss.
Hopkins ran unsuccessfully for county collector in 1998. He was elected to the Cape Girardeau City Council two years ago.
Ludwig celebrated with friends and family at his home late Tuesday night.
Ludwig, who served as a Jackson city alderman for 21, years, said support in his former city ward helped propel him to victory. "I just feel good about the way voters responded to the campaign," he said.
"I was trying to go door to door as much as I could and listen to the people," he said.
Ludwig said he did well in Cape Girardeau, Hopkins' hometown. "I just held my own in Cape," he said.
Ludwig said he's glad he doesn't have to campaign in November. "I'm going to be pulling up my signs," he said.
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