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U.S. House, Senate races lead primary election ballot

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The map looks a little different in this 2022 midterm election cycle.

Missouri’s congressional districts were redrawn this year during a contentious battle in the Senate between Republican leadership and a group of conservatives who wanted a map that was more favorable to the GOP.

In the end, Gov. Mike Parson signed a map that keeps the current status quo of six safe Republican districts and two safe Democratic districts intact. But the new map shifts some significant boundaries. Among the shifts is splitting Columbia and Boone County between two districts.

Missouri's new congressional districts

Fourth Congressional District

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: State Sen. Rick Brattin, Bill Irwin, Mark Alford, Kalena Bruce, Taylor Burks

The Fourth Congressional District included Columbia before the map was changed. Now it takes in the city’s and Boone County’s northern areas but also stretches to the Kansas City suburbs.

The Fourth District seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who is pursuing the Republican nomination for Senate. The race has drawn seven Republicans from the far reaches of the district. Only one – former Boone County clerk Taylor Burks – is from Mid-Missouri.

Two of the candidates are from Hartzler’s hometown of Harrisonville – state Sen. Rick Brattin and Bill Irwin. Both men are running on their military experience and their conservative credentials on issues such as abortion and guns. Brattin was term-limited out of the state House before being elected to the Senate.

The GOP primary race has drawn two Lake of the Ozarks-area candidates – former St. Louis Blues hockey player Jim “Soupy” Campbell and Kyle LaBrue. LaBrue’s campaign emphasizes his business experience and his commitment to gun rights, immigration reform and school choice.  

Mark Alford, a former Kansas City TV news anchor with 35 years of journalism experience, comes from the Kansas City suburb of Raymore. His platform includes issues that have taken center stage for conservatives such as election security, gun rights and a commitment to stopping abortion. On his website, Alford says “We all know that something wasn’t right with the election in 2020,” focusing on voting allowances states made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalena Bruce, a farmer and CPA from southwest Missouri’s Stockton, emphasizes her strong support for the policies of former president Donald Trump. Bruce enjoys the endorsement of Gov. Mike Parson and leaders with the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Burks, who was appointed Boone County clerk but lost his election bid in the heavily Democratic county, also touts his military experience in his campaign. Burks was the county’s first Republican clerk – an office which oversees elections. He says the experience gave him an inside look at the election process and how to make polling more secure.

The Republican primary is the only contested primary in the district.

This map shows where the line between the Third and Fourth districts splits Boone County.

Third Congressional District

The path for a newcomer taking the Third Congressional District won’t be easy – incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Miller County is running to keep his seat.

Like the Fourth District, the lines of the Third were redrawn this year. The district now contains part of Columbia and Boone County, which it didn’t before. And the district now stretches into the St. Louis outskirts.

The Republicans challenging Luetkemeyer are Brandon Wilkinson of Fenton, Dustin Hill of Middletown and Richard Skwira Jr. of Lake St. Louis.

Wilkinson labels himself a regular, middle-class American who can connect with working people. His website includes policy positions common among Republican candidates, such as gun rights and opposition to abortion. However, Wilkinson also promises he will never support cuts to Social Security and proposes spurring rural development without using tax dollars.

Hill is from Montgomery County and is one of two Mid-Missouri candidates in the Republican race along with Luetkemeyer. He is a former Marine who says he wants an “American realignment” that includes a smaller government and decentralized banking system.

Four Democrats are also seeking their party’s nomination on Aug. 2: Jon Karlen of O’Fallon, Bethany Mann of Brentwood, Andrew Daly of Fulton and Dylan Durrwachter of St. Peters.

Karlen’s website states he’s originally from New York but has lived in Missouri for 15 years. He works in software development. His positions include standard Democratic positisions such as reform of gun laws and legal access to abortion, along with the need to re-evaluate the health care system and investment in rural and agricultural development.

Mann also stresses the need for rural development, including infrastructure developments, broadband access and funding for public schools. She also advocates Medicare for all.

Daly is the only Mid-Missouri Democrat who filed for the nomination. His website mentions that he is running his campaign on his own, with no funding from a foreign agent.

Durrwachter rounds out the field as the final candidate to have filed.

Sixth Congressional District

The Sixth Congressional District stretches across northern Missouri from east to west and includes a few Mid-Missouri counties -- Chariton, Randolph and Audrain.

Like the Third District, the Sixth features a Republican primary with the incumbent, Sam Graves of Tarkio, seeking reelection. He faces challenges from four fellow Republicans -- Brandon Kleinmeyer of Parkville, Dakota Shultz of Greentop, John Dady of Troy and Christopher Ryan of Liberty.

Three Democrats are seeking their party's nomination -- Henry Martin of Kansas City, Charles West of Canton and Michael Howard of Moscow Mills.

U.S. Senate

The biggest statewide race on the ballot – and the one that’s drawn the lion’s share of headlines – is the U.S. Senate primary.

The seat is being vacated by the retired U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, leaving a vacuum that literally dozens of candidates sought to fill. The vacuum drew 21 filed Republican candidates and 11 Democrats put their names on the ballot.

The big names on the Republican side are U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), who is leaving her seat in the House; former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in disgrace and has run an often criticized campaign; Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who has sued Missouri school districts and China over coronavirus issues; Missouri Sen. Dave Schatz; and U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield).

Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis lawyer who gained fame among conservatives after threatening protesters with a gun outside his home in a gated community, is also on the ballot.

Polls show Hartzler, Greitens and Schmitt as the top candidates. Hartzler has attacked both men in her campaign ads, accusing them of supporting policies favorable to China. All three have campaigned hard as Trump Republicans.

Schmitt has illustrated his conservative positions through the lawsuits and other legal action his office has taken, including suing school districts for coronavirus mask rules, supporting the case that led to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade and demanding that schools turn over student surveys and other materials.

The leaders in the Democratic field are Lucas Kunce, a former Marine who was seen as the favorite until the entry of Trudy Busch Valentine into the race. Busch Valentine is a member of the family at the head of Anheuser-Busch and a former nurse with plenty of money to help fund her campaign.

Kunce calls Independence home but is originally from Jefferson City. 

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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