Republican incumbent Ben Butler and former prosecutor Democrat Teresa Hensley will again square off for the county prosecutor’s position. The two faced off four years ago when Hensley was the incumbent and Butler won with 13,512 votes to 12,063 for Hensley. Butler is 35-years-old and the past four years were his first experience in a prosecutor’s role. Numerous attempts to reach Butler for comment were unsuccessful. Hensley, 58, served as prosecutor from 2004 to 2014. She had previously served as a Raymore alderman. Hensley also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District and two years ago ran for Missouri Attorney General. Hensley said she knows being a Democrat puts her at a disadvantage in the county, but thinks her candidacy is important. “I find it unfortunate that people don’t take time to know the candidates and who they are voting for. I know it would have been easier if I just changed and put an R by my name, but that goes against everything I believe in,” she said.
Hensley spent 14 years as a trial lawyer prior to being appointed to the prosecutor’s office. She was then re-elected twice. She thinks her record was what got her elected before and hopes it will be considered again. “Cases didn’t just sit around on our desks and wait to be filed. If we had a sex abuse case come in at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, nobody went home. We stayed until the work was done,” she said. “In my 10 years, I tried 21 murder cases and got convictions in all 21 cases. We also handled over 500 assault cases and got 93 child abuse convictions.” She said building and retaining a good staff was key to her success and teamwork made that possible. “We made sure we were addressing every case that came in the door,” she said. She said leadership was the key. “When leading the prosecutor’s office, the staff is looking for direction. It is very true you don’t know what you don’t know and while in office we had the experience to get cases going, to know when to file and when not to file,” she said.