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Ruffin Wins First Ward City Council Seat, While Strong Campaigners Trail Behind

University of Missouri Department of Theatre

  Clyde Ruffin won the vacant First Ward Columbia City Council seat by a margin of 100 votes with 327 total votes. The race was highly contested with nine candidates running for the position.

Ruffin said there’s work to be done before he is sworn in on Monday, April 13.

He said his top priority once he’s sworn in is to prepare for his role on the city council.

“The most important thing that I have to do first is to just really come up to speed on all the issues that city council has to address in the month of April,” he said. “There’s some major issues coming forth, some decisions have to be made.”

This is Ruffin’s first time running for public office. He attributes his victory to the community work he’s done for the past 33 years to make meaningful connections. Ruffin says he knows expectations are high and he’s going to do his best to not disappoint.

Ruffin said he plans on attending a march this Saturday that addresses the issue of black on black crime.

Dan Rader, who was busy with last minute campaigning throughout election day, tied for fourth place with candidate Rob Rasmussen, each with 182 votes.

Rader’s final campaign finances are still unclear, but his tactics included free t-shirts for campaign volunteers, large yard signs and two charter buses to transport voters to the polls on election day.

By comparison, Rasmussen says his campaign efforts totaled $120, for a few fliers and Facebook advertisements.

“Less than a dollar a vote, which in today’s economy, that’s doing very well,” Rasmussen said. “I know I probably spent the least amount of anybody. That’s pretty inspiring that even in the face of Citizen’s United and money suddenly becoming speech that sometimes justice can shine through.”

Rob Stewart had the second most votes with 227, followed by John Clark in 3rd, Nate Brown in 5th, and Jake Loft in 6th. Write-in candidate Chad Phillips received 35 votes. Sal Nuccio dropped out of the race on Monday, though he still received 43 votes.