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Votes still being counted in close House race

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net

While the results of a few hundred absentee and mail-in ballots remain unknown, Missouri State Representative Robert Sauls said he’s confident his slim lead over Vicki Riley in the latest unofficial results will hold up.

Results posted Tuesday night showed Sauls, the Democratic incumbent in the 21st District in Independence, with a 25-vote lead – 7,634 to Riley’s 7,609. There were 28 write-in votes. Those numbers from the Jackson County Election Board have not changed, as results from about 500 to 600 absentee ballots and mail-in ballots that arrived or were dropped off Tuesday had not yet been posted as of early Thursday afternoon. Election Board Co-Director Corey Dillon said it’s probable they wouldn’t be posted Thursday.  A handful of military/overseas ballots postmarked by Tuesday can be counted through Friday. 

If a recount is needed, it won’t happen until after votes are certified Nov. 16.

“We are confident in our lead and that we will ultimately be declared victorious in this campaign,” Sauls said in a statement. “Now we need to get back to work legislating for the people of Independence.”

Sauls’ campaign manager, Daniel Hellweg, said he’s not unfamiliar with sweating out a close result, as Sauls won a three-way primary race to win the seat in August 2018 by just 32 votes.

“We’ve been here before,” Hellweg said.

Sauls added that he was grateful for the support.

“Voters across this district connected with our work on COVID-19 relief for small businesses and fighting corruption in the Jackson County assessment process.”

The 21st District covers a large portion of Independence, from west of the Square east to nearly Susquehanna and south almost to Centerpoint Medical Center.