When the August Primary rolls around, voters will be faced with a long list of candidates, studded with familiar names – all vying for the right to run for U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat.
As of March 31, the list of Republican Primary candidates includes current Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens and Missouri Sen. Dave Schatz.
Mark McCloskey, who garnered national attention after he and his wife, Patricia, stood outside their Central West End home displaying firearms as political protesters passed, is also on the list.
Also included, are candidates Patrick A. Lewis, of Wentzville; Billy Long, of Springfield; Bernie Mowinski, of Sunrise Beach; C.W. Gardner, of St. Louis; Deshon Porter, of St. Louis; Vicky Hartzler, of Harrisonville; Dave Sims, of Kansas City; Eric McElroy, of Tunas; Dennis Lee Chilton, of Springfield; Robert Allen, of Chesterfield; Hartford Tunnell, of Carthage; Kevin C. Schepers, of Fenton; Rickey Joiner, of Florissant; Robert Olson, of Springfield; Russel Pealer Breyfogle Jr., of Columbia; Darrell Leon McClanahan III, of Walker; and Curtis D. Vaughn, of Springfield.
Candidates who have filed for the Democratic Primary are Lewis Rolen, of St. Louis; Gena Ross, of Platte City; Carla Coffee Wright, of St. Louis; Josh Shipp, of St. Louis; Spencer Toder, of St. Louis; Lucas Kunce, of Independence; Jewel Kelly, of Festus; Clarence (Clay) Taylor, of St. Louis; Pat Kelly, of St. Louis; Trudy Busch Valentine, of Clayton; and Ronald (Ron) William Harris, of Kansas City.
Jonathan Dine, of Kansas City, representing the Libertarian Party; and Paul Venable, of Lincoln, representing the Constitution Party round out the list of U.S. Senate hopefuls.
Meanwhile the House last week continued to stalemate over the redistricting of the state’s congressional districts. Late on Thursday, March 31, the House voted to reject and send to conference the congressional map earlier passed by the state Senate.
At the heart of the issue is gerrymandering, the practice of manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favor one party.
The state’s current seat count is six for Republicans and two for Democrats. The House-proposed map would retain that seat distribution but it would see incumbent Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s district (District 2) reach into rural Missouri, encompassing parts of St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin, Washington, St. Francois and Iron counties. It would also divide Columbia, the traditionally Democratic-leaning college town in half, literally splitting the University of Missouri campus between two districts.
Nearby Jefferson County would move from District 3 into District 8, which spans 25 counties across the state from Cape Girardeau County in the east to Taney County (Branson) in the west.
While the House had at press time voted to send the congressional map to conference, the Senate would have to agree, which seemed unlikely given comments made on March 31 by Sen. Bob Onder (R-St. Charles).
“The House vote today was a vote for the liberal activist courts to draw the map,” Onder has been quoted as saying. “We’re not going to conference!”
At press time, two lawsuits had been filed on behalf of Missouri voters asking the court to intervene in the redistricting process.
As of March 31, candidates that had filed for Congressional District 2 were Republicans Ann Wagner, of Ballwin; Tony Salvatore, of Wildwood; Wesley Smith, of Affton; and Paul Berry III, of Maryland Heights. Democrats running for that office include Trish Gunby, of Ballwin; Ben Samuels, of Creve Coeur; and Ray Reed, of St. Louis County. Libertarian Bill Slantz, of St. Charles, also has filed.