In a stunning upset, St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Gilliam lost her primary race in Tuesday's election to local attorney and former county assistant prosecutor Blake Dudley.
And because no Democratic candidate was running in Tuesday's primary election, Dudley becomes the de facto winner in the upcoming November general election. He will begin his first term as prosecuting attorney in January.
Dudley garnered 4,005 votes (53.05% of the vote) to 3,545 (45.95%) for incumbent Gilliam.
Responding to his victory just minutes after the last vote was counted, Dudley said, "It was a really rough campaign, you know, losing Dad and everything else we had to go through. I came here tonight happy because we accomplished so much. I never expected this kind of support. I've grown a lot.
Asked how he'll be spending much of his time until he takes over the prosecuting attorney's office, Dudley said, "I'll be cleaning out my law office and handing a lot of those cases off and get ready to jump in."
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He thanked his many supporters who helped him through what he described as a difficult campaign.
"There have been so many people out there who have supported me," Dudley said. "I can't be more thankful for those who helped me with the campaign, with my dad's passing. The judges, the clerks, the attorneys — all of them went out of their way to help us get through it all."
The Daily Journal attempted to contact Gilliam for her comments.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or email@example.com