By Paul Thompson
August 22, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Nearly three weeks after the August 2, 2016 Primary election, District 19 State Representative candidate Manny Abarca conceded to opponent Ingrid Burnett on Monday, August 22.
Only 19 votes separated the two candidates, as Burnett earned a narrow 787-768 victory. The unofficial election day margin of victory was 20 votes, but Abarca earned an extra vote when the Kansas City Election Board (KCEB) certified its results on Monday, August 15. Ultimately, Abarca fell just a handful of votes from the 1% margin needed for an automatic recount from the Secretary of State’s office.
Abarca issued a statement Monday afternoon on his “Manny for Missouri” campaign Facebook page, thanking his supporters and vowing to stay active in the community.
“I want to thank every single volunteer, donor, union and all who came out to support my campaign for State Representative, and I want you to know that the fight isn’t over,” wrote Abarca. “If you believed in my campaign and what I planned to do, join me in continuing to fight, this time to expand our voting base and ensure our voices are heard and that we can and will hold our elected officials accountable.”
Reached by phone on Monday afternoon, District 19 victor Ingrid Burnett said she was still wrapping her head around the experience.
“It has been kind of an awakening, is the way I would put it,” said Burnett. “I’m just coming to terms with the reality now.”
Burnett added that she’s now getting into the housekeeping tasks that will be required over the coming months, such as finding a legislative aide and figuring out where she’s going to live in Jefferson City. She also took a moment to reflect on just how tight the District 19 results were. Burnett had previously fallen short of a State Senate seat when she ran eight years ago.
“I have been on both sides of political campaigns, and it’s hard to lose,” said Burnett. “I want to give him the space that he needs to go through this. It’s really hard, and I know that because I’ve been there. It was a tough blow.”
While Burnett expressed empathy for her opponent, she stood behind a mailer her campaign sent out in the days before the election which questioned Abarca’s identity and background. When asked if she had any regrets about the mailer, Burnett replied to the contrary.
“No, I do not,” said Burnett. “I think they were legitimate questions that I raised in that mailer.”
Speaking about his own efforts, Abarca said that he took great pride in running a positive, issues-driven campaign. On the subject of the Burnett mailer, Abarca contested the insinuations made by his opponent.
“I will tell you that everything that was referenced in the ad was false to the extent that facts can be twisted,” he said.
That being said, Abarca acknowledged that his first foray on a political ticket was an educational experience. He added that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity to make a difference in politics.
“It’s been fun, it’s been grueling, its been tiring, but ultimately its made me a better person and a more knowledgeable person,” said Abarca. “I’m proud of what we did and how did it.”
Because there is no Republican opponent for the District 19 State Representative seat, Burnett is a near-lock to be elected in the general election this November. She told the Northeast News that she’s looking forward to moving on from this race and representing District 19 in the legislature.
“Let’s mend some fences, let’s move along, and let’s get some things done,” said Burnett. “That’s my sentiment.”