Victories and disappointments on Election Day

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Missouri Governor’s Race: Attorney General Chris Koster loses to Republican Eric Greitens 

Two former party-switchers ran Tuesday to become Missouri’s next governor. Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster and Republican former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens offered voters a vivid choice between experience and a fresh start. Greitens, a first-time candidate, touted himself as an outsider and pledged to tackle corruption in the state Capitol. Koster took the opposite approach, emphasizing that his nearly 22 years in elected office made him qualified to run state government.

“Earlier tonight I spoke to Chris Koster and he offered his congratulations to me and to all of you, and to those of you who are on this team, who have been on this mission for a while, let us always remember the greatest virtue of the victor is magnanimity. Magnanimity. Let us be humble, let us be welcoming, and let’s let everyone who worked for Chris Koster know that we aim to serve them as well,” said Governor-Elect Greitens.

In his concession speech, Koster said he is grateful for the roles he has had in Missouri.

“I have loved working on your behalf, as a prosecutor, as a state senator, and attorney general. And even now, I am grateful for the responsibility and the experience that we have shared. ‘Government’ is a synonym we use in place of the word ‘cooperation.’ If we fail to cooperate as Missourians, we will find no path forward. My prayer is that all of Missouri’s chosen leaders will make time to listen and learn from of different backgrounds, to gain a greater appreciation for the vast complexity for the state that we love, and by doing so, find common purpose regarding the difficult challenges before us,” said Koster.

US Senator from Missouri:  Roy Blunt vs. Jason Kander

In eight previous elections for federal office, Roy Blunt has never had a close race, but this time he had to fend off Democratic challenger Jason Kander. Missouri voters chose Blunt on Tuesday. Blunt is a Republican who was elected seven times to the House before easily winning election to the Senate in 2010.

“A Republican president and a Republican Senate and a Republican House can do things to change this country and focus again on opportunity,” said Sen. Blunt. “We’ve had eight years of hearing what the world ought to look like 25 years from now.  We need to be thinking about how people can get better jobs next month and next year.”

“This is a country that has survived a civil war. This is a country that has survived big, big challenges. And this is a generation that has incredible capacity, incredible ability and this generation is not going anywhere,” said Kander when he conceded the race to Blunt.

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3rd District in Kansas: Kevin Yoder 

Kevin Yoder faced an unexpectedly strong opponent in Jay Sidie.  Sidie’s campaign painted Yoder as a political clone of Gov. Sam Brownback, who has lost popularity due to school funding issues.  Yoder served in the Kansas House for eight years and was elected to Congress in 2010. Since then, his re-elections have been easy. Sidie was largely unfamiliar, but in an election in which outsiders were popular, Sidie gained momentum. The race was close, but Yoder gave a quick acceptance speech at about 12:25 a.m. on Wednesday.

“I want to thank every single one of you. You’ve been out working hard, knocking on doors, you’ve been making phone calls. You’ve done an incredible job and it’s showing up at the polls tonight. Now it could be a late night. We don’t know when our results will finally come in but it looks good from where we’re standing right now. I just want to thank each and every Yoder voter here,” Yoder said.

Rep. Cleaver maintains his seat in House of Rep.

“It looks as if I’m going to return to Congress, but the big question is will the other 434 members of the House come to Washington for the purpose of getting something done or continue an ideological and partisan war,” Rep. Cleaver said.

About the Affordable Care Act, Cleaver said: “I think we’ve got to make repairs to the affordable care act… We made some mistakes, there is no such thing as perfect legislation… If one side wants to fix it and the other side wants to destroy it without having any replacement program, we’re going to go back to the old system.”

About working with a Republican president: “I think I can work with anybody if they believe in government, if they want to govern… over the past few years we’ve had an anti-government movement in Washington that really don’t want to govern, they are anti-government and if that’s the case, if that’s what comes to Washington in January then the whole country’s in trouble.”

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Missouri’s next Attorney General: Josh Hawley

Republican lawyer and University of Missouri associate law professor Josh Hawley has been elected as the state’s next attorney general.

The first-time candidate won Tuesday’s general election. He beat out Democratic candidate Teresa Hensley, a former county prosecutor, in the race for the state’s top law enforcement seat.

Hawley went on a leave of absence from the University of Missouri to campaign. He’ll replace Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster when he leaves office in January.

“We are here in Missouri at the epicenter of something that’s incredible. Absolutely incredible sweeping our country. We don’t know the full ramifications of it tonight yet, but we know that it’s absolutely amazing. But I just want to say this: as we’ve traveled the state, I’ve been saying over and over, that the clear choice that we have had is between Washington and Missouri. Are you for Washington or are you for Missouri? What the people of Missouri have been saying tonight loud and clear is they are sick and tired of the Washington bureaucrats, of the Washington establishment. They want people who are going to stand up for them, for the people of Missouri, for our families, for our farmers, for our small businesses, and that is why you’re seeing Republicans elected up and down the ticket tonight,” Hawley said.

Hawley touted himself as a political outsider during his campaign.

As a private attorney, he worked with about 15 lawyers in the U.S. Supreme Court case in which Hobby Lobby and other businesses challenged a federal requirement to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives for employees.

“I hope that he will give some attention to the justice system in Missouri, and make sure that he continues to treat the justice system with the respect that it deserves, and that he is watching out for those most vulnerable — the seniors, the women and children, that he makes a real effort. We have a lot of prosecutors around the state that were elected in 2014 with little experience themselves, and so when you’re talking about the top law enforcement officer in the state of Missouri it really needs to have that attention,” said Hensley.

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