2012 elections preview: Missouri voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

Aug 6 2012

By Ballotpedia’s Congressional and State legislative teams

The primary season continues with elections in Missouri tomorrow.

Here’s what to watch for in Missouri, where polling places will be open from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time.[1]

Contested Primaries in Missouri — August 7, 2012
U.S. House
(8 seats)
State Legislature
(180 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 4 (50%) 38 (21.1%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 7 (87.5%) 51 (28.3%)


U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Missouri, 2012

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds six of the nine Congressional seats from Missouri. However, the state lost one seat after the 2010 census and will elect eight representatives.

Missouri has a total of 8 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 46 candidates have filed to run, made up of 14 Democratic challengers, 24 Republican challengers, and 8 incumbents. Including states with primaries tomorrow, a total of 353 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 57.79% of possible primaries have been contested. Missouri‘s contested figure of 68.75% (11 out of 16 possible party primaries) is more competitive than the national average.

Missouri lost a congressional seat following the results of the 2010 Census, bringing its number of representatives down to eight. The redistricting trimmed the seat from St. Louis, changing up the 1st and 3rd congressional districts and upsetting their Democrat representatives, William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan, respectively. With Carnahan’s own home now in Clay’s 1st district, the two saw the new map as unfair. The two will face off, along with candidate Candice Britton, in the Democratic primary in the 1st district.

The open seat created by Todd Akin‘s decision to run for Missouri’s Senate seat in 2012 has drawn considerable competition on both tickets. Four candidates have filed on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. Marshall Works, George Weber, Harold Whitfield, and Glenn Koenen are facing off for the Democratic nomination, while Ann Wagner, John Morris, James O. Baker and Randy Jotte are running on the Republican ticket.

According to the Washington Post, redistricting has turned the 4th district from a safely conservative seat into a swing district. Democratic candidate Teresa Hensley, who recently has been raising more money than incumbent Vicky Hartzler, may present significant competition to Hartzler.[2] Hartzler faces challenger Bernie Mowinski in the Republican primary. The winner will face Teresa Hensley in the general election.

Two incumbents, former 9th district incumbent running for re-election in the 3rd district Blaine Luetkemeyer (R), and 5th district incumbent Emanuel Cleaver (D), are running unopposed in their primaries tomorrow.

U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Missouri, 2012

Incumbent Claire McCaskill is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the Missouri Senate seat tomorrow. However, significant Republican competition has filed for the nomination. In total, 8 Republican candidates will run in the primary tomorrow, including 2nd district Representative Todd Akin.

According to The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics race rating, incumbent freshman senator Claire McCaskill (D) is vulnerable in the Republican leaning state.[3] While it still remains a toss up as to who McCaskill’s competitor will end up being in the general election, challengers U.S. Representative Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner all present a significant challenge to the vulnerable incumbent.[3]

On July 25, Roll Call reported that Democratic outside groups were playing an increasing role in defining GOP candidates in the Missouri Senate race. Majority PAC, a Democratically-aligned group, recently aired a TV ad challenging the business record of incumbent Claire McCaskill‘s Republican opponent John Brunner. Roll Call reported that while the ads could define the GOP nominee coming out of the primary, Democratic media consultant Mark Putnam said he was skeptical that a Democratic ad could have much of an effect on a GOP primary outcome, saying, “Regardless of whether it’s a candidate or a super PAC funding the ads, it’s a mixed bag as to how well playing across the party aisle really works. Primary voters are usually better informed and can often see through ads like these.” [4]

While independent conservative groups have already spent more than $3 million on television and radio ads in Missouri to unseat McCaskill, the Washington Post reported in late April that McCaskill’s response was unique, “McCaskill’s response has been an unconventional and risky strategy: She’s targeting the super PACs right back.” The story elaborates, “Standard practice suggests that voters are rarely interested in arguments over campaign finances, particularly in the face of a tough economy and a political system awash in money on both sides. But McCaskill is betting she can turn the millions spent against her into an advantage, a sign of her political independence. She devoted her first campaign ad for re-election to the argument that out-of-state special interests are trying to knock her out of the Senate in November. “You make one company mad by casting a principled vote, and they say, ‘Okay, we’ll just gin up $10 million of our corporate money and take her out anonymously,’ ” she said. “I think if people figure out that’s what’s going on, they’re going to be very turned off by it.”” [5]

Members of the U.S. House from Missouri — Partisan Breakdown
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 3 Pending
Republican Party 6 Pending
Total 9 8

State legislature

Missouri State Senate elections, 2012 and Missouri House of Representatives elections, 2012

In Missouri, there are 180 total legislative seats with elections in 2012. There are 38 (21.1%) contested Democratic primaries and 51 (28.3%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 89 (24.7%) races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 24.7% figure of contested primaries in Missouri is higher than the current national contested average of 19.4% for states that have had filing deadlines.

There are a total of 35 incumbents facing primary opposition — 18 Democrats and 17 Republicans. In the House, there are four districts where two incumbents will face off in the primary election.

Incumbents facing a primary opponent are:

Democratic Party (United States) District 5: Incumbent Robin Wright-Jones faces off against House incumbents Jamilah Nasheed and Jeanette Mott Oxford.
Republican Party District 21: Incumbent David Pearce faces off against House incumbent Mike McGhee.

Republican Party District 7: Incumbent Mike Lair faces off against challenger John A. Myers.
Democratic Party (United States) District 22: Incumbent Brandon Ellington faces off against challenger Henry Carner.
Democratic Party (United States) District 24: Incumbent Judy Morgan faces off against challenger Sarah Gillooly.
Democratic Party (United States) District 28: Incumbent Tom McDonald faces off against challenger Patrick J. Riehle.
Republican Party District 31: Incumbent Sheila Solon faces off against challenger Chris Lievsay.
Democratic Party (United States) District 66: Incumbent Tommie Pierson faces off against challenger Terry L. Wilson Sr..
Democratic Party (United States) District 67: Incumbent Steve Webb faces off against challenger Tony Weaver.
Democratic Party (United States) District 68: Incumbent Bert Atkins faces off against challengers Keith English and Todd Hoffman.
Democratic Party (United States) District 71: Incumbent Tracy McCreery faces off against challenger Susan Meredith.
Democratic Party (United States) District 72: Incumbent Eileen Grant McGeoghegan faces off against incumbent Mary Nichols and challenger Paul Berry.
Democratic Party (United States) District 74: Incumbent Sharon L. Pace faces off against incumbent C.M. Spreng.
Democratic Party (United States) District 75: Incumbent Sylvester Taylor, II faces off against incumbent Rochelle Walton Gray.
Democratic Party (United States) District 78: Incumbent Penny V. Hubbard faces off against challengers Ruth Ehresman and Samuel J. Cummings, III.
Democratic Party (United States) District 80: Incumbent Mike Colona faces off against challenger Rio S. Vitale.
Democratic Party (United States) District 84: Incumbent Karla May faces off against challengers Hope Whitehead and Mike Owens.
Democratic Party (United States) District 87: Incumbent Susan Carlson faces off against incumbent Stacey Newman.
Republican Party District 94: Incumbent Cloria Brown faces off against challenger Tim Hotop.
Republican Party District 105: Incumbent Mark A. Parkinson faces off against challenger Jason Smith.
Republican Party District 106: Incumbent Chrissy Sommer faces off against challenger Kyle Albert.
Republican Party District 112: Incumbent Paul Wieland faces off against challenger Avery A. Fortenberry.
Republican Party District 121: Incumbent Keith Frederick faces off against challenger James R. Skaggs.
Republican Party District 123: Incumbent Diane Franklin faces off against challenger Todd Isaac Skelton.
Republican Party District 129: Incumbent Sandy Crawford faces off against challenger Randy Angst.
Republican Party District 130: Incumbent Thomas Long faces off against challenger Jeff Messenger and Loren Hunt.
Republican Party District 139: Incumbent Kevin Elmer faces off against challenger Clayton Jones.
Republican Party District 146: Incumbent Donna Lichtenegger faces off against challenger Van C. Hitt and Gerald Adams.
Republican Party District 155: Incumbent Lyle Rowland faces off against challenger Mike Lind.
Republican Party District 159: Incumbent Bill Lant faces off against challenger Freddie Jennings.
Republican Party District 163: Incumbent Tom Flanigan faces off against challenger Cory Hyland.

Missouri State Senate
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 8 Pending
Republican Party 26 Pending
Total 34 34
Missouri House of Representatives
Party As of August 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 54 Pending
Republican Party 105 Pending
Vacancy 4 Pending
Total 163 163