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What’s at stake in the midterm elections


The results from Tuesday's election will shape the political atmosphere for Missouri and the country for at least the next two years.

Hot topics for voters this season include inflation, crime rates, abortion and immigration. Which of these topics tends to pull voters to the polls could decide many of the races on ballots nationwide with many candidates running neck and neck.

Missouri and the U.S. House

The Missouri state congressional map was redrawn this year. Gov. Mike Parson ended up signing a map into law that kept six safe Republican districts and two safe Democratic districts.

A significant change to the new map splits Columbia and Boone County into District 3 and District 4.

Missouri congressional races

  • District 1
    • Cori Bush (D)
    • Andrew Jones (R)
    • George Zsidisin (L)
  • District 2
    • Trish Gunby (D)
    • Ann Wagner (R)
    • Bill Slantz (L)
  • District 3
    • Bethany Mann (D)
    • Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)
  • District 4
    • Jack Truman (D)
    • Mark Alford (R)
    • Randy Langkraehr (L)
  • District 5
    • Emanuel Cleaver (D)
    • Jacob Turk (R)
    • Robin Dominick (L)
  • District 6
    • Henry Martin (D)
    • Sam Graves (R)
    • Edward "Andy" Maidment (L)
  • District 7
    • Kristen Radaker-Sheafer (D)
    • Eric Burlison (R)
    • Kevin Craig (L)
  • District 8
    • Randi McCallian (D)
    • Jason Smith (R)
    • Jim Higgins (L)

University of Missouri political science Professor Peverill Squire said one district that could flip is the Second District outside St. Louis.

"That was the district that a lot of Republicans were trying to get redrawn to protect it a little bit," Squire said. "Under the right circumstances that can be a competitive district ... it's probably the one that will be the closest of all the state's districts."

The Senate

Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is stepping down from his seat, leaving an open spot alongside U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

The two top contenders for the position are Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine.

Right now, the U.S. Senate stands tied at 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie-breaking vote. Thirty-four states will elect senators this November.

Those competitive Senate races include Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada.

Squire says the voter demographic could affect a lot of the races.    

"Voter turnout on the Democratic side, particularly younger voters, would swing a lot of those seats their direction," Squire said.

But, according to previous voting trends, midterm elections tend to benefit the party opposite of the presidential party. That would give the Republican Party the advantage in this election.

"I think the Senate is going to be narrowly divided," Blunt said in an interview with ABC 17 News. "You know one of the things you'll be looking at ... is the likely shift in the House to Republicans."

If that shift happens, Blunt says it could change the working environment.

"President Biden, when he was running, wanted to constantly talk about the ability to work together," Blunt said. "I think this will create an environment where some of those skills will be used in a way that they clearly haven't been used in the first two years."

Biden made a promise to Americans if Democrats win in the midterms. About two weeks ago, Biden tweeted that if voters elect two more Democratic senators and allow the party to keep control of the House, the first bill he would send to Congress would be to codify abortion rights.

Influence of former president Trump

Former president Donald Trump not only has influence over voters on the national level but also closer to home. Trump easily won Missouri in 2020.

In the August election this year, he simply endorsed "Eric" -- both Schmitt and former governor Eric Greitens were in the race for the Republican nomination. Schmitt won the primary.

"He has been able to hold onto maybe up to a third of Republican voters, which gives him a strong base within the party and particularly in the party primaries," Squire said.

Trump still holds a significant amount of influence over some voters even after his 2020 loss to Biden.

"He has been influential in getting some candidates on the ballot in primaries around the country," Squire said. "Whether those were the best choices for the Republican party [to] have made, is up for debate and we'll see what the decision looks like when the results come in."


Article Topic Follows: Politics
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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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