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KBIA's Civics Desk covers issues of local and state government, including the University of Missouri System.

Rowden keeps seat in lopsided victory

Jieyan Zheng
Rep. Caleb Rowden speaks with supporters Tuesday night at a watch party at Inside Columbia.

While there were several close races for Republican candidates in Boone County Tuesday night, the 44th district was not one of them.

Incumbent Rep. Caleb Rowden held a steady lead as returns came in throughout the night. He began with 59 percent of absentee ballots and ultimately won with 63 percent of the vote.

Rowden announced fellow Republican Chuck Basye’s victory in the 47th district to a cheering crowd at the GOP watch party at Inside Columbia. His own victory almost seemed an afterthought until the crowd corralled him into a speech.

“This is a great night for Boone County,” Rowden told the crowd. “This is a great night for Missouri. And I believe this is the beginning of Boone County turning red.”

Rowden said the focus of his next term will be similar to his previous with an eye toward education funding and improving the Missouri economy.

Tom Pauley, Rowden’s Democratic challenger, watched the returns with about 25 supporters at CoMo Smoke and Fire. Pauley said he was hoping to do better in the election.

“We tried very hard to make things work,” he said. “But with the limited amount of resources available it was really tough.”

Pauley said he would seek the seat again in two years, but added he would start raising money earlier. 

A curious Columbia, Mo. native, Bram Sable-Smith has documented mbira musicians in Zimbabwe, mining protests in Chile, and the St. Louis airport's tumultuous relationship with the Chinese cargo business. His reporting from Ferguson, Mo. was part of a KBIA documentary honored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He comes to KBIA most recently from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.