Lipke beats Miller handily in 157th

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Republican Scott Lipke of Jackson, who survived two recounts of votes cast in the August primary, easily won election Tuesday night to the 157th District state representative seat in Cape Girardeau and Perry counties.

Lipke garnered 8,035 votes to defeat Democrat Chuck Miller of Oriole, Mo., who had 3,733 votes. Libertarian Timothy Doubledee, a Jackson insurance agent, finished a distant third with 172 votes.

A thrilled Lipke celebrated with supporters at the Jackson Jaycees Community Center Tuesday night. "We worked extremely hard," he said of the campaign. "A lot of it was door to door."

Lipke said he also benefited from Republican Party efforts to get out the vote in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.

Voter turnout in Cape Girardeau County was nearly 47 percent with more than 23,000 voters going to the polls. "I think it was a great turnout," said Rodney Miller, county clerk.

Miller said five people cast provisional ballots in Cape Girardeau County. Miller said his office would check the eligibility of those votes today.

There was a glitch in the counting of punch-card ballots early on. "A computer locked up in the counting, and when we rebooted, we had to start over again," he said.

Several precincts reported slight changes in the number of votes cast in races.

Lipke, a Cape Girardeau County assistant prosecuting attorney, and Miller, who is retired from Procter & Gamble and runs a small auction business, combined spent over $72,000 in the state House race.

Lipke, who by late October had outspent Miller by a 2-to-1 margin, will succeed retiring state Rep. David Schwab, R-Jackson, who is leaving the Legislature at the end of this year because of state term limits.

"Money was a factor," said Miller, who conceded the election in a phone call to Lipke.

Miller said Democratic candidates have a tough time in heavily Republican Cape Girardeau County. But he said he may run again for state representative in the 157th District in two years.

Lipke won a four-candidate GOP primary battle in August that featured both a machine and a hand recount. The final tally gave Lipke the primary win by 25 votes over his closest challenger, Donna Lichtenegger of Jackson, who had sought the hand recount.

Some voters in Jackson said they voted for Lipke because he was a Republican. Others cast ballots for Miller because of the Democratic Party label.

At the American Legion Hall, several voters said they voted for Lipke because of his anti-abortion stand.

"I am pro-life. That has a lot to do with how I voted," said Tina Duley.

LaVonne Jones said she voted for Lipke because of his anti-abortion stand and because she's worried about the economy. "I am worried about the farmer and keeping small farms in this area going," she said.

But Drew Hoffman voted a straight Democratic ticket. "I have been a loyal Democrat," he said, insisting that Democratic candidates better represent "the working man."

Amy Gehl voted a straight Democratic ticket on similar "working class" grounds, but said she knew little about most of the candidates on the ballot.

At the Jackson Jaycees Community Center, John Boyd of rural Jackson voted straight Republican. Like Gehl, he said he knew little about the candidates in any of the races.

Cynthia Hotop of rural Jackson said she voted for Lipke because of name recognition. "I had heard of him," she said.

But Roy Jennings, who lives near Tilsit, Mo., said he voted for Miller because he liked the candidate's "Miller time" television commercials.

Lipke won handily in both Cape Girardeau and Perry counties. He piled up 6,101 votes in Cape Girardeau County to 2,871 for Miller and 137 for Doubledee. In Perry County, Lipke defeated Miller by more than a 2-to-1 margin, 1,934 votes to 862. Doubledee received 35 votes.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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