Republican state Rep. Noel Torpey will face a familiar opponent in the November election.
Independence School District teacher John Sutton, who lost to Torpey in 2012, edged retired teacher and musician Winston Apple in the Missouri House District 29 Democratic primary Tuesday by a mere 20 votes.
Sutton totaled 1,372 votes to Apple’s 1,352 – 50.37 percent to 49.63 percent. Apple had an 1,101-837 edge in voting in Independence and Jackson County, but Sutton overtook him with a 535-251 advantage in Kansas City. The district includes south central Independence, south of 23rd Street largely between Lee’s Summit Road and Blue Ridge Boulevard and Kansas City from U.S. 40 south on the land mostly surrounding Noland Road south to Bannister Road.
“It didn’t make a difference who won because we need to get Torpey out of office, but I’m glad I won,” Sutton said. “I was surprised it was that close because I hadn’t done a whole lot of campaigning in the last two weeks.”
Sutton said he will now turn his attention toward defeating Torpey, the incumbent who ran unopposed Tuesday, in November for the seat.
“Beating Torpey is the No. 1 priority now,” Sutton added. “He has not been education’s friend, and that’s what I am mainly standing on. I’m not a professional politician, just an average guy trying to get some things changed and represent the district.”
Apple did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Bill E. Kidd of Independence handily defeated former state Rep. Brent Lasater in the Republican primary. In November, Kidd takes on Democrat John Mayfield of Independence, who defeated Lasater in 2012.
“It’s not about party of politics or prestige. It’s about people,” Kidd said Tuesday night. He said the 20th District, which runs from Sugar Creek to Buckner and includes much of eastern Independence, desperately needs jobs.
“People are hurting, and we need to help with that,” he said.
The vote was 1,757, or 71.8 percent, for Kidd, to 688, or 28.1 percent, for Lasater.
As expected, incumbent Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, will return to his 22nd District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Ellington’s opponent, Daniel Edwards, had declared before Tuesday’s primary that he was no longer seeking the office that represents southwestern Independence and eastern Kansas City. And with no Republican running either, Ellington, with Tuesday’s win, will run unopposed in November.
Ellington received 2,260 votes (81.09 percent) while Edwards still received 527 votes (18.91 percent) despite withdrawing his candidacy prior to the election.
Republicans have re-gained a two-thirds majority in the Missouri House heading into a big showdown with Gov. Jay Nixon over his vetoes of tax breaks, abortion restrictions and other issues.
Republicans won two of the three special elections for vacant House seats Tuesday.
That will give them 110 House seats – one more than the two-thirds majority required to override vetoes. Republicans already hold a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
The winners are expected to take office in time for the Sept. 10 veto session.
Republican Shawn Sisco, of Rolla, won in the 120th District while Republican Tila Hubrecht, of Dexter, won in the 151st District.
Democrat Alan Green, of Florissant, was leading in a special election for the 67th District.
- The Associated Press contributed to this article.