BENTON -- There's a new sheriff in town - and his name is Rick Walter.
On Tuesday voters in Scott County elected Walter, a Democrat, as the sheriff during the general election. Walter edged out Republican Wes Drury, 9,246 votes to 8,054 votes.
Following the tight race, Walter admitted he was actually speechless.
"I'm looking forward to working with the different departments in the county and the people in the county," Walter said. "I'll do my best not to let anyone down."
Walter, who has 17 years of law enforcement experience, ran for sheriff four years ago and was defeated by current sheriff of 30 years, Bill Ferrell. Ferrell did not seek re-election this year.
"We appreciate the confidence we received in Scott County," Walter said following the announcement of results. "The voter turnout was great, and it's something I'm proud of, too. It's excellent."
In other closely watched races, Democrat Dennis E. Ziegenhorn was selected over Republican Jim Schwaninger, with 4,670 votes to 3,152 votes, for the first district county commissioner seat.
Pam Dirnberger, Democrat, easily won the position of public administrator, defeating her Republican opponent, Jay Bledsoe, 9,937 to 7,253.
Incumbent Teresa Houchin, a Democrat, will serve another term as county assessor. Houchin was chosen with 9,752 votes over her Republican challenger, "Dee" Anne-Marie Cookson, who garnered 7,411 votes.
Voters in the Chaffee R-2 School District approved the $1.48 million bond issue, 1,006 votes to 598 votes, for the renovation of the senior high school gymnasium and a new elementary activity center/cafeteria. Renovations in the gymnasium include adding air-conditioning and remodeling restrooms and locker rooms to allow for more privacy. The new activity center and cafeteria will be a stand-alone structure with additional parking.
Running unchallenged for a second term as second district county commissioner was incumbent Jamie Burger. He received 7,458 votes.
Incumbent Coroner Scott C. Amick, 14,020 votes, was also unopposed for another term, and the position of county surveyor had no candidates on the ballot. Write-ins were not determined by the clerk's office at press time.
During the presidential election four years ago, a total of 748 absentee ballots were voted in Scott County. This year there were over 1,200 absentee ballots voted. Also voter turnout was about 65 percent Tuesday compared to 61 percent in the 2000 presidential election.
But even with the high turnout, everything ran fairly smooth on Tuesday, noted Scott County Clerk Rita Milam.
"Some people waited until today (Tuesday) to see if they were registered or where they needed to vote," Milam said. "Everybody just needs to make sure they're registered in advance. But the turnout was great, and I appreciate everybody's help."
On the state level, the vote breakdown of the four-way race for governor was: Republican Matt Blunt, 10,198 votes; Democrat Claire McCaskill, 7,004; Libertarian John M. Swenson, 115 votes; and Robert Wells, Constitution Party, 59 votes.
For lieutenant governor, voters opted for Peter Kinder, Republican, 10,190 votes, instead of Rebecca McDowell "Bekki" Cook, Democrat, 6,777 votes; Mike Ferguson, Libertarian, 194 votes; and Bruce Hillis from the Constitution Party, 118 votes.
In the 160th District state representative race, Republican incumbent Peter Myers, 9,789 votes, defeated Democrat Jim D. Spooler, 4,515 votes, and Libertarian Lanie Smith, 178 votes.
State representative incumbent Republican Lanie Black nabbed 3,129 votes while Democrat Curtis Burch received 799 votes from county residents in the 161st District.
In the race for the 27th District state senator seat, Republican Jason G. Crowell received 10,026 votes, compared to Democrat Donnie Owens, who received 6,347 votes and Libertarian Chris Morrill's 382 votes.
Eighth District U.S. Representative incumbent Republican Jo Ann Emerson easily garnered 12,805 votes compared to her opponents: Dean Henderson, Democrat, 4,395 votes; Stan Cuff, Libertarian, 67 votes; and Leonard J. Davidson, Constitution Party, 45 votes.
Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond, 11,345 votes, was picked by voters in his bid for another U.S. Senate term. His opponents were Democrat Nancy Farmer, 5,878 votes; Libertarian Kevin Tull, 71 votes; and Don Griffin of the Constitution Party, 61 votes.
Voters went with Republican Catherine L. Hanaway for secretary of state. Hanaway nabbed 9,346 votes over Democrat Robin Carnahan, 7,333 votes; Libertarian Christopher Davis, 365 votes; and Donna Ivanovich, Constitution, 100 votes.
Republican Sarah Steelman had the most votes for state treasurer with 8,241, followed closely behind by Democrat Mark Powell; who had 7,562 votes. Libertarian Lisa J. Emerson netted 955 votes and Constitution Party candidate Chris Fluharty received 89 votes.
Incumbent Jeremiah W. "Jay" Nixon, a Democrat, was picked over challengers in his quest for another term as attorney general with 9,564 votes compared to Republican Chris Byrd, 7,083 votes, Libertarian David R. Browning, 245 votes; and David Fry of the Constitution Party, who had 120 votes.
In the presidential election, Republicans George W. Bush and Dick Cheney nabbed more votes than their opponents with 11,330 votes. Democrats John F. Kerry and John Edwards received 6,057 votes with Libertarians Michael Badnarik and Richard V. Campagna getting 35 votes and Constitution Party's Michael A. Peroutka and Chuck Baldwin nabbing 21 votes.
Voters were in favor of the constitutional Amendment No. 3 with 12,932 "yes" votes to 3,142 "no" votes. The amendment proposal includes the Missouri Constitution to require all revenues from the existing motor vehicle fuel tax, less collection costs, to used only for state and local highways, roads and bridges.
Voters also chose to retain the following judges for new terms once their terms expire Dec. 31: Richard B. Teitelman, Missouri Supreme Court, 9,105 "yes" votes to 5,692 "no" votes; John E. Parrish, Southern District Court of Appeals, 10,012 "yes" votes to 4,459 "no" votes; James K. Prewitt, Southern District Court of Appeals, 9,841 "yes" to 4,500 "no" and Kenneth W. Shrum, Southern District Court of Appeals, 10,160 "yes" to 4,280 "no."
All results, which were provided by the county clerk's office, are unofficial.