Voters overwhelmingly rejected an argument during Tuesday’s General Election that the incumbent Monroe County judge was too to be re-elected to a fourth-and-final term.

Judge Michael Wilson, a Democrat, won handily by 2,295-to-1,426 votes over Republican challenger Sidney Eckman Wheelan, a lawyer who practices in Moberly - a 61.68 percent to 38.32 percent margin.

Wheelan made age her central campaign theme because Wilson will be forced to retire when he turns 70 years old on Nov. 18, 2021 – more than a year before his term expires - because of a provision in the Missouri Constitution that mandates retirement for judges when they turn 70. Wheelan argued that she could complete the full term as judge. She said that the Missouri governor would appoint a judge to replace Wilson, taking the decision out of the hands of Monroe County voters.

Wilson, who was appointed to the bench in 2004, and won his first full term in the 2006 election – ironically defeating Wheelan in the Democratic Party Primary Election that year with 60 percent of the vote. He called age a nonissue in the campaign, telling voters that to judge his record.

 “I am humbled and pleased with the result,” Wilson said Tuesday night. “What I told my friends tonight was that this election shows that some old thinking still works – running on your own record and reputation with a positive campaign. Getting out and actually meeting the people and talking to the voters in an old-fashioned campaign still works. And because those old things work, this old thing gets to continue working.”

Wilson has said that after mandatory retirement that he would willing to serve as a senior judge.

Voter turnout in Monroe and Ralls counties was strong – 62.32 percent of the registered voters in Monroe County and 60.5 percent in Ralls County.

In other Monroe County races, incumbent County Clerk Christina Buie, a Democrat, turned back the challenge of independent candidate Jennifer Hays, a Monroe City teacher, 1,993-to-1,447 votes. Hays received 40 percent of her votes – 617 – in her home base of Monroe City.

Republican Lori Decker breezed past Democrat Michelle Callison by a margin of 2,323-to-1,327 votes.

In Ralls County, incumbent Republican County Clerk Sandy Lanier won easily over Janet Tutor, her Democratic challenger, 2,885-to-1,427 votes – a 66.91 percent to 33.09 percent margin.

Voters in Center and New London rejected proposals to eliminate city sales taxes on purchases.

Reach Editor Forrest Gossett: