Treece wins re-election as mayor of Columbia

The incumbent won a hard-fought race

Brian Treece watch party

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Incumbent Brian Treece, 49, has won three more years as Columbia mayor. 

He was first elected in 2016, defeating attorney Skip Walther. Treece is a lobbyist with his own firm, Treece Phillips.



"In many ways this was a referendum on my record as mayor," he told ABC 17 News. "The 2 to 1 victory I think is very gratifying and I appreciate the public support."

His campaign advocated for a continuation of the "steady leadership" that Treece said he has brought to local government over the past three years.

"I knew we were going to win," said Pam Cooper, who worked on Treece's campaign as a volunteer coordinator. "Frankly, I'm astounded at the margin."

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Treece received 10,325 votes, which came out about 64 percent. Kelly came away with 5,761 votes. 

"He's probably one of the most ethical men I've encountered in politics," said Cooper. "He's the real deal."

Mary Hussmann, who canvassed for Treece Tuesday morning, said she thinks he takes the time to reach out to his constituents and listen to their ideas.

"He doesn't wing it," she said. "He takes the time, he puts in hours of work."

One of Treece's major platform planks was to advocate on behalf of open, honest and transparent government. He has advocated over the past several months for a financial audit of either the entire budget or at least one department. 

He also touted the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs in his time as mayor, including "restored confidence" in government.

"We're leading the state and the country in terms of job growth," he told ABC 17 News in an interview. "I'm so proud to continue the progress we've made."

His opponent, 72-year-old Chris Kelly, is a former state representative and served time as Boone County Clerk and an associate circuit judge.

Kelly had concerns about Treece's lobbying on behalf of the Teamsters against a bill that would allow Columbia students to ride city buses to school. Kelly called it a "conflict of interest."

Kelly also brought up concerns about Treece's firm lobbying for a Arkansas health care company caught up in a Medicaid fraud investigation. Treece has said his company ended its relationship with Preferred Healthcare after he learned of the investigation.

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