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Republican Chris Dinkins won handily over her Democratic opponent Jim Scaggs in a special election held Tuesday to fill the District 144 seat in the Missouri House of Representatives left vacant when Rep. Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi, resigned after Gov. Eric Greitens appointed him to the Missouri Board of Probations and Parole in September.

In unofficial results, the final tally of the special election was 2,998 for Dinkins and 2,699 for Scaggs — a 299 vote spread.

District 144 encompasses four counties — Washington, Iron, Reynolds and Wayne. Dinkins received more votes than Scaggs in every county except Iron, where the long-time southeast Missouri businessman serves as presiding county commissioner.

This is a breakdown of the votes by county — Washington County: Dinkins – 676, Scaggs – 403; Iron County: Dinkins – 724, Scaggs – 1,155; Reynolds County: Dinkins – 621, Scaggs – 529; and Wayne: Dinkins – 977, Scaggs – 612.

Dinkins served as Fitzwater's legislative assistant and has continued in that role since Fitzwater's resignation. The former representative backed Dinkins to succeed him in the House.

On her Facebook Page, she posted, "THANK YOU! Words cannot express my gratitude for the trust and support you have placed in me. Friends, family, and neighbors put in countless hours helping spread our message of more jobs, less taxes, and the importance of a strong conservative voice for our rural Missouri values in Jefferson City! Now the real work begins. Whether you voted for me or my opponent in this election, I am ready to work with you for the betterment of our district."

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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