Ashland’s Sara Walsh will be the first resident to represent Southern Boone in the State Legislature after winning a narrow victory over Democrat Michela Skelton in Tuesday’s special election. 

Walsh lost the Boone County vote, but out-paced Skelton in Cole and Moniteau Counties to win 3,737 to Skelton’s 3,439 votes.

The 50th District was without representation this past legislative session as Rep. Caleb Jones left the House to take a job with Gov. Eric Greitens.

Walsh and her supporters packed Pizza Haus on Tuesday night to celebrate the election win.

“I wish I could stay here all night so I could individually thank everyone in this room,” Walsh told her supporters.

Walsh said her initial priorities would be to support economic growth. She will be representing a district in which there is already strong economic growth in north Ashland and southern Columbia. Walsh has campaigned on the promise to support tax cuts to stimulate the business economy, remove business regulation and defending the right-to-work law.

The renewal of the half-cent Boone County roads and bridges tax was an overwhelming “Yes” vote – 85% of the voters approving the measure, with a 10-year sunset.

The turnout in Tuesday’s election was a scant 14% of registered voters.