Republican Sara Walsh is going to the Missouri House, succeeding former Rep. Caleb Jones, a Republican who resigned in January to join Gov. Eric Greitens' staff.
Voters in Missouri's 50th District gave Walsh a 298-vote victory — 3,737 votes (52.08 percent) to Democrat Michela Skelton's 3,439 votes (47.92 percent).
Walsh has a master's degree in business administration and had served as a staff auditor in the state auditor's office.
She also had served on the state GOP's executive committee, among other political positions.
She told the News Tribune she wasn't concerned by the narrow victory margin.
"We won!" she said. "Team work, hard work and just the voice of the district" made the difference in the special election race.
Walsh said supporters told her they want "limited government, standing for our freedoms, supporting law enforcement, investing in education and just trying to work hard on all the good that we have."
Walsh, 38, grew up in rural Missouri with parents who encouraged her to dream big, she said. America is a "land of opportunity," she added; "dreams can come true."
She said she would encourage others — especially young people — to get more involved in politics.
Skelton, 31, is an attorney and also has a master's degree in public administration and policy analysis. She once worked for the Missouri Senate's research office, drafting proposed bills for legislative debate.
She couldn't be reached Tuesday night for a comment.
After redistricting in 2011, the formerly Moniteau County-based district was reshaped to include only California and northern Moniteau County, and southern Boone County was added, including southern portions of Columbia.
Small sections of Cole and Cooper counties also were included in the new 50th District, which is divided into 27 precincts.
Skelton got the most votes in Boone County's 13 precincts, 2,875 votes to Walsh's 2,540. Both women live in Boone County.
But the lead from Boone County voters wasn't wide enough to overcome Walsh's wins in the other three counties.
Six of those 27 precincts are in Moniteau County, where Walsh won 853 votes to Skelton's 412 votes.
Four of the 27 precincts are in Cole County, where Walsh won 132 votes to Skelton's 67 votes.
Cooper County also has four precincts, where Walsh outpolled Skelton, 212 to 85.
Correction: The vote numbers from Cooper and Moniteau counties were incorrect in the original version of this article. The error has since been corrected in the text above.
Republican Sara Walsh is going to the Missouri House, to succeed former Rep. Caleb Jones, a Republican, who resigned in January to join new Gov. Eric Greitens' staff.
Voters in Missouri's 50th District — which includes parts of Cole, Moniteau, Boone and Cooper counties — retained Republican representation in the House, giving Walsh a 298-vote margin, 3.737 votes (52.08 percent) to Democrat Michela Skelton's 3.439 votes (47.92 percent).