Incumbent Pike County Presiding Commissioner Danny Miller was a bit surprised but not undone by his 33-vote loss to Terry Burris in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary election.
“He worked harder than I did,” Miller said last week. “People thought it was time for a change and I accept it.”
Burris will now run against Republican Chris Gamm in the final election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Miller said he would not ask for a recount, although the vote was 831 tallies for Burris to 798 for himself.
“The county clerk (Melissa Kempke) did a good job and I won’t put them through that,” Miller said. “I’m a Democrat and I’ll be endorsing Terry.
“It’s been a good eight years,” Miller said of his two-term tenure on the board. “I tried to stand up and do what was right.”
Bowling Green resident Burris carried all the precincts in the western part of the county, while Miller captured all the precincts in the Louisiana area where he lives, along with Clarksville, Paynesville and Eolia.
Only 27.9 percent of county voters turned out for the election. That was 3,092 of the county’s 11,091 registered voters, according to county elections official Donna Wiss.
The turnout in Louisiana’s four precincts averaged 23 percent and Miller said he thought that might have been enough to make the difference.
“It was disappointing that people in Louisiana didn’t get out to vote,” he said.
Miller said he will be 59 soon and doesn’t see himself running for office again.
The restaurateur said he will stay busy reviving his business that was flooded in July and will now have more time “to do things we haven’t been able to do,” with his wife, Bella Miller.
Retired MoDOT crew chief Burris admitted his win was “pretty close” and he is looking forward to the general election race against Gamm.
“I’m not going in with any agenda but it’s time for new ideas,” Burris said. “I think we need to mend some fences and get back on better terms with the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments.”
Miller had been a vocal opponent of the council and perceived them as not doing enough for the county.
On another matter, “The rumor that I wanted to take away county employee benefits was not true. I never said that,” Burris said. “The county employees are our greatest asset.”
Burris is a former member of the Bowling Green City Council and served three consecutive two-year terms after being first elected in 2004.
Gamm has ideas
Gamm ran unopposed on the GOP ticket and said he was surprised at the result on the Democrat side.
“Evidently people decided it was time for a change. I was really surprised with the low turnout with all the amendments on the ballot, particularly because of the Right to Farm amendment.”
Gamm said he will “make the campaign about my strengths and that the county needs to work together so that towns and townships can get their work done.”
Gamm said he would like to attract a large new industry to Pike County and hoped a new bridge would be built over the Mississippi at Louisiana.
Gamm served on the Bowling Green R-1 School Board for nine years and on the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District board for 10 years.