With the Nov. 6 election less than a week away, Nodaway County voters will be tasked with making decisions on a wide range of impactful races and initiatives.
Headlining next week's ballot is the contentious senate race between incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Josh Hawley.
A Yale Law School graduate and former United States Supreme Court clerk, Hawley has spent the past year serving as Missouri’s attorney general.
Supporters of Hawley look at his accomplishments while serving as Missouri attorney general, including settlements with Uber for data-breach violations, major suits against opioid manufacturers and fighting for Missouri consumer protection rights.
Critics of Hawley point to the hypocrisy of his stance on protections for workers with pre-existing conditions.
After supporting these protections publically in campaign advertisements, Hawley reportedly backed a lawsuit that would allegedly remove these protections for a number of Missourians.
Despite Missouri’s conservative-dominated legislature, McCaskill is no stranger to running against and defeating Republican opponents.
McCaskill has held the position since 2007 despite Missouri voting red in the last five presidential elections.
Polls in the last month have swung back and forth on multiple occasions, with the latest polls giving Hawley an advantage 49 to 45 percent over McCaskill.
That 4 percent gap was less than one earlier in the week, highlighting the unpredictability of next Tuesday's race.
In terms of campaign finance, McCaskill has a significant edge compared to Hawley, having raised $30 million and spent more than $26 million compared to Hawley’s $8.5 million raised and $4 million spent.
Ballot sees races for Nodaway County and Missouri legislature
In the Nodaway County election, Republican Lisa Nickerson is opposed by incumbent Democrat Sandy Smail for recorder of deeds.
Nickerson, an academic scheduling specialist at Northwest, is seeking her first term as recorder of deeds.
She previously spent six years as clerk of Polk Township and has over 16 years of office experience.
Smail is seeking her fifth consecutive term as recorder.
Another local race on the ballot pits incumbent Republican state Rep. Allen Andrews against Democrat Paul Taylor for the First District seat of Missouri.
In the Missouri Senate race, incumbent Republican Dan Hegeman is running against Democrat Terry Richard.
Richard, a military veteran, has been vocal about his support for the First Amendment and cleaning up Missouri’s politics.
Hegeman, a former state representative, is campaigning on his support for Missouri job development and infrastructure improvement.
In the race for the Sixth District U.S. House of Representatives seat in Missouri, incumbent Republican Sam Graves is in a three-man race with Democrat Henry Martin and libertarian Dan Hogan.
Graves is a nine-time U.S representative.
Numerous ordinances, propositions and amendments on ballot
Nodaway County residents will have a chance to vote on a statewide motor fuel tax, the first in potentially 22 years.
If passed, the proposition would raise Missouri’s fuel tax rate by 10 cents over a four year period.
Missouri last passed a motor fuel tax in 1993, as a result, the Missouri Department of Transportation has been faced with decreasing funds for maintenance of transportation systems.
If passed, the tax would generate more than $400 million annually.
While voters opposed to the tax say an increase is needed, they say this bill takes away funds for other state programs and doesn’t allow funds to be directly used on road repair and maintenance.
For more information on Proposition D, the Northwest Missourian has in-depth coverage here.
With three different marijuana-related measures on the ballot, Missourians will make a choice between two different amendments and one proposition.
More information on the marijuana-related measures can be found on our website link here.
A notable proposition is seeking to raise Missouri’s minimum wage by a sizable amount.
If passed, the bill intends to raise the minimum wage to $8.60, with 85 cent increases every year until 2023 when the minimum wage would reach $12.
For more in-depth coverage on Missouri's minimum wage bill, visit Northwest Missourian.
Ballot sees handful of unopposed races
Six positions on the November ballot feature local candidates running unopposed, all but two of which are races for Nodaway County courthouse positions.
The first is incumbent Robert Rice, who is seeking re-election as the county’s prosecuting attorney.
Running unopposed for fourth circuit judge is Republican Roger Prokes.
Having first been elected in 2000, Prokes is the presiding circuit court judge.
Incumbent County Commissioner Bill Walker is seeking re-election to the commissioner’s position.
Other local races on the ballot include Elaine Wilson seeking her third term as circuit court clerk.
Lastly, Melinda Patton is running for clerk of the county commission.
Patton has held the position since she was appointed in 2017 by then-Gov. Eric Greitens.